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Fall fitness: Outdoor family activities

Michele Borboa, MS is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health, fitness, food, lifestyle, and pets. Michele is a health and wellness expert, personal chef, cookbook author, and pet-lover based in Bozeman, Montana. She is also...

Family fitness

The temperatures are falling and the days are getting shorter, but that doesn't mean you and your family should be sitting indoors playing board games. Fall is a fabulous opportunity to get outside and enjoy the fresh air, changing leaves and modest climate. Staying physically active all year round will ensure you and your family stay healthy, happy and slim. Here are some outdoor family activities to boost your fitness while spending quality time together this season.

Family on bicycles

Smooth cycling

A fun fall activity is taking a drive to see the gorgeous changing colors flowing from tree to tree. Instead of hopping in the car, get your family members on their bikes. Peddling through the neighborhoods or a local tree-lined park is a perfect way to take in the brilliant fall phenomena and get some exercise. Bike riding will improve your cardiovascular fitness, leg strength and tone, and reduce stress.

Cycling: A beginner's guide

Happy hiking

Before winter's cold rains and snow arrive, lace up your hiking boots and take your family on a trek through nature. Make a day of it and pack a light lunch or handy snacks to enjoy along the trail. Once you reach your destination -- whether it be a scenic mountain summit, quiet meadow or breathtaking lake -- your family can lay back and relax. Hiking is a fun way to connect to the great outdoors and stay fit.

How to make hiking fun for kids

Take a walk

Once dinner is done and dishes are washed, instead of gathering around the television or video gaming system, rally your family to go for a stroll. Leash up Fido and hit the sidewalk. Taking a walk after dinner each night will help burn extra calories, help dinner digest, and relieve stress. To make it more interesting and fun for your kids, challenge them to race each other to the end of the block and back, or have them walk without stepping on any of the sidewalk cracks.

Walk for better health

Park it

Local parks and recreation areas offer large expanses of grass and family-friendly playgrounds. Pack a picnic and have lunch or dinner after an hour or two of Frisbee tossing, kite flying or playground romping. Playing tag or hide and seek or even practicing your kids' favorite sports are also fun family activities.

Fall fitness: Exercise at the park

Geocaching

Geocaching has become increasingly popular over the past few years, with more geocaching opportunities arising throughout the country. Seeking out caches as a family or making it a competition will give your outdoor time a purpose beyond physical activity. Visit Geocaching.com to learn more.

A geocaching primer

What kinds of outdoor activities do you do with your family? Let us know below!

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