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Healthy Living: Make fitness a family affair this summer

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July 10, 2013 | 2,154 views | Post a comment

MILWAUKEE -- School’s out and children have plenty of free time that can either be spent inside, lounging -- or outside, making the most of the season. There are many simple ways to incorporate fitness into your family’s summer plans while still having fun together. TOPS Club Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), the nonprofit weight-loss support organization, offers the following tips for a summer filled with family fitness.

Lead by example

An effective and easy way to get your family to be more active is to show them how. Simple activities can go a long way in teaching the importance of fitness and increased movement. When shopping together, take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. On nice days, park as far away from building entrances as possible. Walk and bike to places nearby -- instead of hopping in the car. Little changes like these will motivate kids to opt for more active habits on their own.

Sign up for a run/walk

Summer is full of run/walks for various causes and nonprofit organizations. Decide together on some events in which you’d like to participate, whether it’s for the cause it benefits or the pure fun appeal. 5Ks are perfect for beginners, and you can train together as a family, too.

Liven up your chores list

Instead of having your children help with the typical indoor chores, get them involved in outdoor tasks. Gardening, raking, push mowing, and anything that incorporates some movement are great ways to keep kids moving while enjoying some sun.

Be smart about gifting

When giving gifts to your family, choose things associated with activity. Some practical items disguised by fun include sports balls and nets, Slip ’n Slides, Frisbees, bicycles, inline skates, and anything that makes outdoor exercise enjoyable. The novelty factor of the “new” item can be a catalyst for getting outdoors, and it’s a convenient way to be thoughtful while also promoting physical fitness. Remember to provide protective equipment such as helmets, wrist pads, or kneepads.

Make after-dinner walks part of your routine

A simple way to get your family on the fitness track is by making a tradition of after-dinner walks. Take several fast-paced walks around the block and enjoy the opportunity to be active together as a family, while burning off some dinner calories. Also look for routes that offer a combination of inclined and flat paths, so that strong walkers are challenged but slower walkers get a rest.

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