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Tips for Local Family Fun

By SMH Health Coach Roxanne Summerville

With the kids out of school, now is the perfect time to find some ways to be physically active as a family to stave off the summer-time, couch-potato slump.

Set aside specific times/days each week to dedicate to the whole family being active together. Not only will you enjoy some quality family time, but you all will reap the health benefits of physical fitness, and you’ll be creating lifelong health habits for your kids.

Lucky for us on the Suncoast, options for active family abound here—and many are free and require no special equipment to get your exercise in. Try walking, jogging, jumping rope, playing tag, or even dancing together—at home, at the beach, at a park. These fun activities all count as exercise—that’s right, you can get healthier while dancing to your favorite tunes!

To help get you started on planning an active summer for your family, here are a few things to do in Sarasota and the surrounding counties that guarantee a good time while staying active.

1. Summer beach runs are held weekly at Siesta Key Beach, on Tuesdays, and Venice Beach, on Wednesdays from June 9 through Aug. 11. These casual, 1-mile runs are fun for the whole family. The run starts for the kids at 6:30 p.m., followed by the adult run at 7 p.m. After getting in your cardio workout, stick around to enjoy a healthy, picnic dinner on the beach. It’s an ideal opportunity for families to exercise and enjoy the beach together.

2. Take a walk through a local farmer’s market. If you live close enough, consider walking or biking to it. While you shop, let the kids pick out a new fruit or vegetable for the family to try. This gets them excited about trying a new food. Your family may even find a new favorite!

3. There are many local parks with trails for walking, hiking, or biking. Find one near you to get in your steps while enjoying the fresh air. Some parks also feature tennis and basketball courts or a playground or splash pad for younger kids, so there’s likely to be something for everyone.

4. Get creative and multitask while the kids are playing on the playground. There are many exercises you can do with your bodyweight and playground equipment or even a park bench. Check Sarasota Memorial’s “Summer Fun” board on Pinterest for inspiration!

5. How about a little friendly competition? Maybe your family is up for a race to the top of Ringling Bridge or the Celery Fields “mountain.” Think of a reward for the whole family like a trip to a trampoline park, Historic Spanish Point, or Crowley Museum and Nature Center, which has nature trails you can stroll along while checking out wildlife.

6. Be prepared for the inevitable summer rains and sometimes stifling heat, and have some indoor options planned as well. A family gym membership is a great way to exercise as a family—especially in the summer—and it allows older kids to try new things and get excited about fitness (and spending time with Mom and Dad)! HealthFit is even offering a special, limited-time family membership plan for $99/month this summer. Kids 13 and older can join you for Zumba classes, yoga, or other group exercise classes. Race them doing laps in the pool, or shoot some hoops together on the basketball court.

7. Yard work and active chores also count as physical activity. How about planting some a garden together? Washing the car is also a fun way to fit in some activity and be productive at the same time.

Just find something everyone enjoys and have fun—together!

We’d love to hear your ideas for staying active together as a family! Just comment below.

SMH Health Coach Roxanne Summerville is a Wellcoaches-trained wellness coach and an American College of Sports Medicine-certified personal trainer. Her specialties include fitness nutrition and youth fitness. It’s very important to her that she leads by example. In her free time, she enjoys cooking healthy meals and desserts for her family, and is usually training for an upcoming race—anything from a 5K to a marathon.

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