Summer fun for family mentally, physically healthy

Posted April 11, 2013 at 10:43 am

Childhood obesity is a common problem in many American families. To avoid future health problems, children need a minimum of 60 minutes of exercise each and every day.

“For that matter, the entire family will benefit physically by getting out and spending some quality time with one another,” said Renette Wardlow, human development specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

Warmer days, children out of school, green grass all around, and flowers blooming everywhere are indicators it is time to get outside and have some summer fun.

“A couple of menaces of the previous months include a reduction in physical activity and a change in eating habits. It is easier to snack on rich, fatty foods when the weather is cold than it is on a beautiful summer day,” said Wardlow. “Those foods that are the unhealthiest seem to satisfy us most when we have little else to do.”

Changing exercise and food habits today will allow all family members to feel better about self, change attitudes and allow for better health. To get started, sit down, as a family and plan activities that everyone can participate in.

It is important to come up with a list that includes ideas from all members of the family.

The list of inexpensive, family activities is endless. To get a jump start, look around your community for things that the family can do together.

Following is a partial list of ideas that many families commonly enjoy doing together: Tour your community by visiting businesses, parks, museums, libraries, local government offices, a farm or the fire or police station; go bike riding; take a nature walk and gather leaves, stones and other items of interest; on a windy day, fly a kite; catch a Frisbee work on outdoor crafts such as making a collage out of the items found on the nature walk; go roller skating or roller blading; take an evening walk; go swimming or attend summer community events.

“These are just a few ideas that might get the family moving. Doing fun activities together is sure to improve family relationships and will help keep everyone active and healthy. Enjoy your time together; after all, we are a few short months away from winter,” said Wardlow.

For more information, contact either of MU Extension’s human development specialists in southwest Missouri: Renette Wardlow at (417) 581-3558 or Dr. Jim Wirth, (417) 881-8909.