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July 5, 2018

Get Moving Together: Family Fitness for the Summer

By Sarah Stoulil,

Summer signals relaxed times, times for fruit popsicles, paddle boarding and beach volleyball. For some, however, summer also means staying indoors, escaping the heat and halting exercise routines. Don’t let our hot and humid Florida weather put a damper on your family fitness. The American Heart Association and Tampa General Hospital have tips to keep you and your family active through the hottest season.

Plan Ahead

The American Heart Association recommends that adults participate in physical activity 30 minutes a day, five times a week. The Association also advises healthy children, ages 2 and older, partake in an hour of moderate to vigorous exercise daily.

How can busy parents best schedule family workouts in the melting months?

Kim Christine, Employee Wellness Manager at Tampa General Hospital, says families can exercise together early in the day to beat the heat. “If you’re going to do outside activities, do as much as you can first thing when you wake up in the morning before getting your day started,” says Christine. Doing so allows families to accomplish a joint task and substitutes kids’ early morning mobile screen time with more healthy movement.

People should avoid exercising between noon and 3 p.m., when the sun’s rays shine their brightest. This reduces the risk of heat stroke or heat exhaustion.

For those who prefer to take their family workout inside, community centers can provide opportunities for physical activity, often at reasonable rates. Christine suggests swimming, basketball and pickleball as indoor sports that guarantee a fun time for parents and kids.

Cover Up and Water Down

Hot weather can result in serious medical conditions as well as sunburn. Christine, who has a 9-year-old son, advises parents to use sunscreen on themselves and their children when outdoors. She also emphasizes the significance of wearing a hat and sunglasses for added sun protection.

Christine suggests families keep hydrated throughout the day by drinking water, which aids in heart health and lowers the chance for heat stroke.

“I think that’s a rule of thumb with kids. Teach them to stay constantly hydrated and to take frequent breaks in the shade when playing outdoors for long periods of time.”

Make It Fun

Exercise provides many benefits, including lowering the risk for chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, stroke and high blood pressure. Studies show that active parents raise active kids.

Both Christine and her son enjoy exercising. “We’re both very active,” she acknowledges. “We play basketball together. We swim together. That’s just a big part of our life.”

Although exercise promotes health, Christine highlights that it should also yield enjoyment. “I think making exercise fun is important to kids. Invite friends. Play games that let them move around, rather than always having structured activities.”

Visit www.heart.org/healthykids for American Heart Association tips that will help you and your family get the most from summer workouts.


Family Fitness Image courtesy of Kim Christine

Image Caption: It takes two: Tampa General Hospital Employee Wellness Manager Kim Christine enjoys bicycling with her son, Makoa.

 

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