Did you know summer’s irregular sleep patterns, meal choices, and
activity schedules can impact your child’s health?
According to a
national study, for example, elementary school students are at higher risk of gaining
excessive weight during the summer than when they’re in school.
In the two year study, between early fall and late spring, the prevalence
of children who were overweight increased from 23.3 percent to 28.7 percent.
The prevalence of those with obesity grew from 8.9 percent to 11.5 percent.
According to the study, all of the increases were during summer breaks only.
There are many reasons why this could happen. Children may eat more in
the summer, get less physical activity, or a combination of both. Kids
tend to sleep less (or more) during the summer, have more irregular sleeping
habits, and may be on their phones or playing video games with more frequency
on their days off, leading to a sedentary summer.
Being healthy and active all summer can lower your child’s risk for
obesity, boost their self-esteem, and make them happier and healthier
overall. Now’s the time to start working more healthy activities
into your family’s lifestyle. Here are just a few ideas for fun,
healthy activities the whole family can do right here in Frederick County
1. Enjoy a Story & Walk on the Story Path
Story Path promotes early literacy, physical activity, and enjoying the
outdoors all at once. As your family walks along the Story Path trail,
you’ll find pages from a children’s book to read along the
way. With each step, the story unfolds. It’s all possible thanks
to LiveWell Frederick and efforts of several community groups. Learn more
about Story Path, including how to host your event, on
LiveWell Frederick’s website.
2. Break Out the Bicycle & Take a Ride
With several bicycle routes and trails for riders of all skill levels,
Frederick County is an excellent destination for pedaling. The
Frederick History Bicycle Loop explores the city’s 50-block district, the town creek, and more,
Covered Bridge route takes you to all three of Frederick’s historic covered bridges.
If your family loves to ride, then
bicycling in Frederick County is the summer activity for you.
3. Hit the Trail
If biking’s not your thing, try taking a walk, going for a run, or
hiking instead. Frederick County has more than 20 trails and parks to
discover. Don’t forget to bring your
Hit the Trail Passport with you!
LiveWell Frederick teamed up on this free passport to encourage folks to enjoy a healthier
life through great food and physical activity. The passport details the
locations, terrain, and duration of local trails. Each time you visit
a trail, rub the trail markers to record your visits in your passport.
Once you’ve completed the entire passport, drop it off at the local
recreational department for a chance to win prizes.
4. Take a Dip
One of the best ways to beat the summer heat is with a jump in the pool.
Swimming keeps your heart rate up but takes some of the impact off your
joints, builds endurance and muscle strength, and helps you maintain a
healthy weight. Frederick County offers
American Red Cross Swimming and Water Safety programs that combine instruction with water safety,
swimming lessons and classes at the YMCA of Frederick County, open swims at community pools, and more. Before you swim, be sure to
check out our tips for swimming safety.
5. Host a Cookout in the Park
Looking for something to do on the weekend? Visit any of
Frederick County’s parks, plan a
healthy picnic or cookout, and bring games to play that get everyone up and moving. Consider healthier
sides like salads or grilled veggies, create a dessert that includes in-season
fruit, and stick to sugar-free drinks. For outdoor games, think relay
races and sports like volleyball, badminton, or frisbee.
6. Walk with a Doc
Walking is low impact, so it’s easier on the joints, especially for
people with orthopedic ailments. Have you heard of
Walk with a Doc? It’s a local walking program for anyone interested in taking steps
to a healthier lifestyle. While you walk at your own pace, you’re
joined by local physicians who will answer your various health questions.
All you need is a pair of comfy walking shoes to join the fun.
7. Visit Your Local Farmers Market…
Summer’s the perfect time to try new foods and fresh produce. More
than 30 farmers markets, community supported agriculture (CSA), and orchards
offer locally grown fruits, vegetables, and more in and around Frederick
County. Consider a day excursion with your kids—together, you can
plan a healthy meal for dinner,
visit a local farmers market for all the locally-sourced foods on your shopping list, and cap it off
by making a delicious, fresh meal as a family.
8. …Or Learn to Grow Your Own
Container gardening is a great way for beginning gardeners to start producing
their own food, plus it encourages children to get outside and get their
hands dirty. Not sure where to start?
Check out this video from the
University of Maryland Extension Home & Garden Information Center for everything you need to know about
container gardening—from potting soil to choosing what to grow.
9. Get Competitive
For those summer days when going outside is not an option, due to rain
or extreme heat, take the fun indoors. Visit your local recreation center
with such amenities as basketball courts, soccer fields, and volleyball
courts, or take the action to the YMCA, a bowling alley, skating rink,
indoor swimming pool, or indoor sports center. Make it interesting by
splitting into teams with family and friends and challenging one another
to a friendly competition.
10. Attend a Health Class or Seminar
There’s so much to learn about health and wellness. Why not attend
a free health and wellness class, activity, or seminar with the family?
Several events scheduled in July:
Free High School Sports Physicals at
Monocacy Health Partners on July 15 (open to all sports and all
Frederick County Public Schools high schools);
Yoga on the Creek at Carroll Creek Amphitheater every Thursday morning and the third Friday
of each month;
Twilight Hikes at Monocacy Battlefield (the next one is July 27); and more.
LiveWell Frederick updates their events calendar frequently, and
so do we, so check these out while planning your summer activities and events.
We hope that you and your family have a safe, healthy summer! If you try
any of these activities, we want to hear about it. Share your photo on
our Facebook page.