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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 July 10, 2020

                      How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

                      How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

                      We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

                      We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

                      So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

                      Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

                      What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

                      Boundaries are limits

                      —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

                      Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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                      Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

                      Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

                      Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

                      How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

                      Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

                      1. Self-Awareness Comes First

                      Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

                      You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

                      To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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                      You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

                      • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
                      • When do you feel disrespected?
                      • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
                      • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
                      • When do you want to be alone?
                      • How much space do you need?

                      You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

                      2. Clear Communication Is Essential

                      Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

                      Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

                      3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

                      Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

                      That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

                      Sample language:

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                      • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
                      • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
                      • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
                      • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
                      • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
                      • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
                      • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

                      Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

                      4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

                      Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

                      Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

                      Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

                      We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

                      It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

                      It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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                      Final Thoughts

                      Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

                      Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

                      Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

                      The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

                      Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

                      Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

                      They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

                      Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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