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Top 10 Fun Outdoor Activities to Keep Your Family Healthy

Top 10 Fun Outdoor Activities to Keep Your Family Healthy

Family time can be hard to come by, but it’s well worth pushing your busy schedules aside in order to make some new memories. Fun, outdoor activities are a great way to get everyone excited and on board for a great family outing. It’s also the perfect way to introduce a healthy lifestyle to your children.

Here are our top 10 ideas to get your family off the couch and outdoors for some healthy fun. Mix it up to keep everyone interested, and don’t be afraid to try new things!

1. Paintball

Paintball

    Want to be the mom or dad of the year? Make plans to visit your local paintball fields for what will undoubtedly be hours of fun. Play on teams or against one another, whichever fits your family dynamic! Girls vs. boys? Parents vs. kids? That’s sure to get everyone excited.

    Paintball isn’t for everyone, as there’s a chance for injury, and can sometimes be a pretty intensive workout. Still, it’s an affordable and wildly fun way to get your family out of the house and working on one goal together.

    2. Rock Climbing

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    Rock Climbing

      Rock climbing is an incredible skill and sport which trains the body and mind to become more tone and disciplined. The sense of achievement after climbing a rock wall, whether it be real or one at your local gym, can’t be beaten. Before you begin rock climbing, make sure you have the proper equipment, including harnesses and helmets. Safety should be a top priority, so choose a rock face with a difficulty equal to your family’s ability.

      3. Pokémon Hunting

      Pokémon Hunting

        This sweeping phenomena is a perfect reason to get kids of all ages out of the house. Pokémon Go gives extra incentive to keep going, to walk a little further, and dig a little deeper. It also has its own built in reward system! As an extra bonus, your kids will appreciate you taking an interest in something that’s important to them.

        4. Canoeing

        Canoeing

          Canoeing is kayaking’s low-intensity cousin. Unlike a kayak, which is made for speed and sharp turns, canoes are made to be slowly meandered down lazy streams. Don’t let that fool you, though, canoeing can burn some serious calories. The best part about canoeing is that it requires teamwork in order to get the boat moving in the right direction. You’ll only get to your destination by working together, which is always a good life lesson to share with your family.

          5. Hiking

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          Hiking

            There are over 6,500 state parks and 58 national parks in the United States. Many of them are very family-friendly, with well-marked trails of varying difficulties. Find one near your home and make plans to spend the day out exploring nature with the family. Our day-to-day lives can be pretty hectic, but one of the many benefits of hiking is reducing stress and anxiety. If your family needs to unplug and reconnect with nature, a hike is the perfect remedy.

            6. Bike Riding

            Bike Riding

              Cycling is an invigorating way to enjoy time with the family. Unlike hiking or walking, which may be too slow-paced for younger children, cycling is fast-paced excitement. It’s also a healthful cardio workout that can burn over 200 calories an hour for the average person.

              The best part about cycling is discovering your world, so change your trails often to add variety and extra challenge for your family. We especially like cycling as a family activity because it’s an eco-friendly activity that can be done almost anywhere.

              7. Swimming

              Swimming

                It’s not always easy for those in land-locked areas to get to the beach, but that’s not your only option for fun in the sun. Going to a nearby river or lake can be just as fun, including the adventure to get there. Swimming outdoors isn’t essential, but it does present added benefits. For example, we all know moderate time in the sun is good for a boost of vitamin D. The great outdoors also have a tendency to lower stress and increase creativity, giving your family a chance to unplug and relax.

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                8. Backyard Garden

                Backyard Garden

                  Farm-to-table eating is all the rage today, so why not start in your own backyard. Gardens are an ideal outdoor family activity, as gardens take almost daily supervision to keep out pests, weeds, and to check on progress. Children love watching their plants grow from seed to fruit, and you’ll enjoy having some healthy options on the dinner table.

                  Pulling weeds and planting flowers can burn anywhere from 200-400 calories an hour. It’s also a perfect excuse to get the kids out back and enjoying some fresh air.

                  9. Dog Parks

                  Dog Parks

                    Your family pet should be considered, too! Taking your pooch to the dog park will be a great way to exercise both children and pets. If you’re lucky, by the time you get home, everyone will be ready for a nap!

                    Dog parks are full of excitement and are sure to have your children running around and playing for hours. Always be safe, making sure your children ask before touching any strange dogs. The best part about dog parks is that they usually require documentation that all the dogs are treated and healthy.

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                    10. Gold Panning

                    Gold Panning

                      You’ve never seen a child’s eyes light up like they do the first time they strike gold. Believe it or not, you can pan for gold in almost any stream or river. It won’t be a ton of gold, but after a little while of playing in the water, children can find a small smattering of gold flakes for their effort. Panning kits like this are available to make it a little simpler. Take the family to enjoy the great outdoors, and after a trek to the river, you can reward them with some fun panning! It’s a win-win.

                      We hope you found some good tips in this article. Now it’s time to get outside with your family for some healthy fun!

                      Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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                      Last Updated on August 15, 2018

                      7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

                      7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

                      Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

                      Video Summary

                      Why is it important to train up our core strength?

                      There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

                      This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

                      Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

                      In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

                      One Exercise, multiple benefits

                      There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

                      By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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                      When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

                      Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

                      In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

                      What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

                      What will happen when you start doing planks every day

                        1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

                        Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

                        • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
                        • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
                        • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
                        • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

                        2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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                          Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

                          Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

                          3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

                            Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

                            4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

                              Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

                              A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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                              A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

                              On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

                              5. You’ll improve overall balance

                                Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

                                6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

                                  Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

                                  7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                                    Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                                    How to hold a plank position

                                    1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                                    2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                                    3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                                    4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                                    5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                                    6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                                    7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                                    Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                                    Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                                      How to improve your plank time gradually

                                      1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                                      2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                                      3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                                      Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                                      Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                                      You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                                      • Prolapse
                                      • After prolapse surgery
                                      • Pelvic pain conditions
                                      • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                                      • Previous childbirth
                                      • Overweight

                                      Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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