Share The Health

10 Healthy Family-Fun Activities for Summer

07-01-2019

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 this summer:

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, while the 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! Wegman’s and 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.