Greensboro's African American Community Newspaper since 1967

Keeping the family fit for the summer


Summer is here.While there are plans for summer activities such as vacations, summer camps for the kids and family reunions, when is their time devoted to family fitness? What is the first thing that pops into your mind with the word, “fitness”? Is it gym memberships, exercise equipment or diet plans? In order to keep the family fit for the summer, major expenses are not required. A desire to participate and creativity can jumpstart summer family fitness!

Getting Started

Dependent upon the family member’s ability, and sometimes willingness, to participate, different types of physical activities may be needed to accommodate everyone. A Family Olympics day is a great way for families 100 percent ready for participation. If the family is not quite ready for a major change, then small steps to increase physical activity is beneficial. A smart start for families is to place articles or small facts on the fridge or around the house about benefits of exercise.

Get the Family Moving

The best way to begin family fitness is to choose a day of the week for Family Fitness Day. It is best to have each member of the family participate by taking turns for choosing the activity or activities for upcoming Family Fitness Days. Here are some ideas for activities: Go to a local swimming pool Walk around the neighborhood Find a local school that has a track for walking or to do some running A family bike ride in a safe area Take a productive activity like washing the car(s) and afterwards gather up the water guns and buckets for a water fight Release your inner childhood and play some of your favorite games in the back yard like, Simon says, Mother May I, Red light/green light, hopscotch, freeze tag or hide-n-seek

One inexpensive way to family exercise is find a local school that has a track for walking or to do some running.

Rainy Days

Just because the weather does not cooperate or it is just too hot outside, does not mean your idea of being active cancels. Before starting any activity indoors, choose a room that is spacious and move its furniture. Make some room and have some fun: Have a dance party. Crank up the music and show off your favorite dance moves. Work together as a family to do chores and then take breaks to do jumping jacks, pushups, etc. Put on a family talent show. Make a creative list for a family scavenger hunt throughout the house. Own an exercise video? Pop it in and get the whole family moving.

Make Time for Fitness

Sometimes a family just becomes too busy with work, organizations and sports teams. If you find your family will not have time to get together during the summer, here are some tips for the working parent and child who might stay at home this summer.

For the Parent:

Park in the farthest spot in the employee parking lot to increase physical activity. If your building has many stairs, use those instead of the elevator while at work. Squeeze your abdomen muscles for a few seconds and then release. Repeat this every few minutes while at work to improve posture. Work your calf muscles to avoid blood clotting in your legs from sitting so long at work. Lift your legs onto the balls of your feet and lower them back down. Repeat this until your legs feel tired. Take an office object to work out your arm muscles. With the office object, you can do tricep kickbacks, bicep curls or shoulder raises.

For the Child:

If you are at home watching TV, do some jumping jacks, sit ups, hold a stretch or run in place during commercials. Do calf raises while brushing your teeth. Try doing a wall sit to see how long you can stay while watching your favorite show. Take your dog for a walk; if you do not own one ask your parent(s) if it is fine to walk a neighbor’s dog. Gather up the neighborhood children for a game of basketball, relays or other fun outdoor activities. It is important to remember that children whose parents model healthy behaviors, such as exercise and eating healthy are more likely exercise and eat healthy themselves! Whatever way you choose to spend your summer, include some kind of physical activity. Any outdoor activity during the summer requires safety. If you choose to participate in any activity outside consider: Always have water nearby while outside Take breaks from the sun to rest in the shade or inside Wear breathable and light colored clothing Make sure to wear sunscreen.

For more information, call 1-(877) 530-1824. Or, for information about the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity, please visit: Web site: