The Summer holiday is a great way to get yourself outdoors and do some exercise. With or without kids, the idea is to mix things up and have some fun. Not all of us are happy to pound the streets jogging endless miles, or feel like a hamster on the treadmill. However, the benefits of doing exercise make thinking outside the box worthwhile.
The Benefits of Exercise
Be healthier – exercise reduces your blood pressure and strengthens muscles and bones, making us less prone to injury.
Boosts our energy levels – getting up and moving has the added benefit of increasing our energy levels, and research shows it can fight fatigue better than taking a nap!
Live longer – research has also shown exercise and its health benefits can increase your life expectancy, even with low levels of activity.
Weight control – working with a healthy, balanced diet, exercise can help us to achieve our weight goals, and helps us to look better too.
Feel better – exercise boosts the feel-good chemicals in our brain, helping to fight depression and anxiety, and reduce our stress levels.
Sleep better – exercise can also improve sleep quality and duration, meaning we wake up feeling more refreshed, energised and in a better mood.
Fun and Social – if you choose wisely, like team sports, exercise can be a social activity, helping you meet new people. Physical activity with your kids and their friends can help develop their social skills, and thinking of different sports and team games can also be fun, making it seem like less of a chore.
Enjoy the great outdoors – people report greater satisfaction and more enjoyment when they exercise outdoors. It also burns more calories than exercising in the gym. You get the added benefits of a little sunshine, and it’s cheaper than a gym membership too!
Exercising with a little fun couldn’t be easier. For the full benefits just make sure you are getting at least 30 minutes, preferably whilst increasing your heart rate.
10 top ideas to get your started.
Here are 10 ideas for exercise during the summer which you do with or without the kids.
Hula hooping – great fun for adults and kids of all ages and can burn over 400 calories per hour. As the activity engages all parts of the body, it’s great for toning, and brilliant for getting a flat tummy.
Bike riding – great activity for getting the kids out and about. There are plenty of family friendly cycle routes about, and if you don’t have a bike you can always hire one. It strengthens your thighs, hips and bum, and is gentle on the joints too.
Dodgeball – a great game where you throw balls at the opposite team, and try not to get hit. The shorts burst of sprinting can improve cardiovascular fitness, lower blood pressure and improve circulation. For added fun with the kids, why not try using water balloons instead of balls.
Jumping rope – 10 minutes of jumping rope can burn more calories than running an 8-minute mile. Why not bring out your inner child and get skipping.
Juggling – this is an exercise that doesn’t feel like exercise. You can do it anywhere, and it helps to sharpen focus and concentration.
Trampolining – trampolining is not only great fun, but low impact, so it’s great for all ages and fitness levels. It’s a quick way of building muscle and losing fat (the gentle detoxification that occurs as you rebound encourages fat loss). It also firms legs, bums, tums, arms and hips, increases agility and improves sense of balance.
Hopscotch – If you have younger kids, this is a great activity for kids to practice hopping and improves rhythm. It improves their body strength, hand/eye co-ordination, plus taking turns, following the rules of the game, and having fun develops their social skills too.
Sack races – not just for sports day, the competitive edge can be fun for older children, and develops stamina; toddlers might not have developed the co-ordination skills required for this activity just yet.
Make shift bowling – fill empty water bottles with sand or rice, and play bowling in your garden. For added fun, try using glow sticks for glow in the dark bottles you can play after dark, or during the summer BBQ’s with friends. Bowling helps you slim down by speeding up your metabolism, and reduces your risk of disease. It’s suitable for all ages, and improves your social life too.
Frisbee – lots of fun for all ages. The high intensity interval style of exercise burns more calories and increases your metabolic rate. There is also the benefit of increased agility from the quick turns, throws, pivots and jumps during the game.
If you are new to exercise, check with your GP first, start slowly and build up activity levels. Also check with your Doctor if you have any chronic health problems, or initial concerns.
Always wear the right safety equipment, for example, always wear a helmet when cycling, and choose good trainers to support the feet and ankles.
Look for safe areas to play, like on the back lawn, local parks, organised trails and sports centres.
So, what are you waiting for? Go outdoors, have some fun, and reap those health benefits ….
Be Stronger than your strongest excuse.