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5 Outdoor activities to keep your family happy and healthy

Kendra Y. Mims is a freelance writer and online content editor in the Chicagoland area. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College Chicago in journalism. Her passions include writing, reading, and traveling.

Enjoying fitness as a family

Do you find that your family spends more time together watching television than being physically active? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of U.S. adults are obese, and obesity now affects 17 percent of all children and adolescents nationwide. With summer approaching, it's the perfect time to take your family outdoors and embrace a healthy living lifestyle.

Family running outdoors

Rick Applewhite, a personal trainer in Chicago, says that exercising together builds family unity.

 “With everyday obligations demanding so much of individuals’ time, working out as a family increases quality time that the family can have together. As you provide your family with a foundation of healthy living, you will see positive changes throughout the entire family, from productivity to increased strength and happiness,” says Applewhite.

Get ready to head outdoors and bond with your family with these fun fitness activities.

1

Group running

Running as a group can be both challenging and fun. Applewhite recommends that families engage in the athletic “last man sprint” exercise. Here's how it works: Start off by jogging in a single file at a comfortable pace. The person in the back runs to the front of the line and replaces the leader, and then the next person in the back of the line runs forward to replace the leader. Continue until you have reached your goal. Another creative way to have fun is to challenge each other in a relay race.

2

Roller skating

Strap on the safety gear and head outdoors to get your skate on. According to the Roller Skating Association International, studies have shown that roller skating provides a complete aerobic workout and it is recognized and recommended by the American Heart Association as an aerobic fitness sport. Roller skating is a fun way to get your entire family involved.

3

Walk with a purpose

Is your family passionate about a specific cause? Sign up for a summer family fun 5k run/walk that you all can enjoy. Preparing to participate in a 5k will give you time to bond as you get ready for the event. Create a music playlist as a family and train throughout the week by taking walks after dinner. Encourage each other by creating incentives throughout your training until you get to the big day.

4

Take a ride

Start your day with a family bike ride. Biking not only improves your health (it's good cardiovascular exercise), but it can also help the environment because you're not burning fossil fuels. Choose a destination and enjoy the scenery and the sun along the way.

5

Have a splash

There’s nothing like getting in the pool to cool off in the summer heat. Swimming is a low-impact aerobic exercise that offers great health benefits for everyone, no matter the fitness level. Going for a swim is a fun way to keep your family fit and a relaxing way to exercise while beating the heat.

More on family fitness

Get your family exercising
7 Ways to keep your family active
Kid-friendly exercises

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