This entry was posted on July 18, 2017.
The school year is over and summer is in full swing. Marks from school have been assigned and long forgotten in the carefree summer days. But one mark we shouldn’t forget comes from the 2016 Participation Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth where Canadian kids were given an F for sedentary behavior. Canadian kids also received a D- in overall physical activity and a D+ for active play. This places Canadian children among the least active in the world, lagging far behind other countries such as Slovenia and New Zealand where kids received A’s and B’s for physical activity.
In Canada, only 17% of kids get the minimum recommended 60 minutes of heart pumping activity. Worse yet, a study on behalf of the David Suzuki foundation found that 70% of Canadian youth spend less than an hour outside a day. Adult Canadians are no better, on average spending 90% of our days inside.
The necessity and benefits of exercise as well founded, but the benefits of outdoor exercise are less frequently stressed. Compared to indoor exercise, studies have shown that outdoor exercise contributes to a greater improvement in mental well-being. People exercising outdoors experience less stress, depression and anger, and report feeling more energized and revitalized. Outdoor exercisers also report greater enjoyment from exercise and are more likely to exercise again.
Summer is the perfect time to break these statistics and get out and enjoy exercise with the whole family. Exercising outdoors with the family can make the experience more enjoyable and can be great bonding! Make an adventure or competition out of it, or simply enjoy some fun games in the backyard. Here are some fun ways you can get active outside with the family this summer – including our Simply Family Relay Challenge!
– Family hike or bike ride: explore somewhere new, or try to hike a familiar path a little faster than last time.
– Obstacle course: set up a fun obstacle course in the backyard or park – make sure the adults can fit! When the mercury rises, be sure to include some sprinkler stations!
– Hold an ultimate frisbee, badminton or soccer tournament in the backyard. Be sure to have some refreshing water on hand!
– Water sports: cool off by enjoying a family canoe or kayak ride, or give stand up paddle boarding a try.
– Dance party in the backyard!
– Summer Games: plan a friendly family competition with swimming races in the pool or lake, running races and three-legged races. Spend a few weeks training with the family to add to the anticipation for the big day!
– Simply Family Relay Challenge:
- Set a course anywhere from 50 to 100 m apart
- At one end, place a few chairs, tables or anything that forms a tunnel large enough for adults to crawl under
- Place a hula hoop at the other end
- Split the family into two even groups. Invite friends along if you need more people!
- Line the family up on the hula hoop end. On “GO!”, the first racers sprint to the end and crawl under the tunnel
- Next, racers perform 10 burpees or push-ups and then crawl back under the tunnel and sprint back to the hula hoop. Racers then perform 10 hula hoops and tag off to the next team member
- Mix up the course with as many different obstacles as you like, and make the relay longer by having each participant race multiple times. For the second run, try crab-walking or skipping instead of running to mix it up
We hope you have a fun summer filled with lots of family outdoor exercise!
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