Start planning a summer of fun activities now. Every minute counts to get the most from our warmer temperatures, longer hours of sunlight and the opportunities available to be a kid again.
Being active is good for you and your family in so many ways. It can provide a wide range of fun experiences, make you feel good, improve your health, and is a great way to enjoy the company of others. Getting started in the summer can also lead to a year-round habit of being active.
Parents are the primary role models for their children so if parents are active, their children will be active as well. Inactivity, weight and health issues need to be addressed now. Planning activities keeps everyone moving and away from the chair bound behaviours such as watching television and using a computer. Parents should also be aware that girls tend to be less active than boys, and teens are less active than younger kids.
Living in Southwestern Ontario, we are all so fortunate to have a playground outside our front doors. The trail systems, park and recreation facilities, and neighbourhood parks can all help us be active.
The trail systems offer some of the best opportunities to explore areas that link natural regions, parks, valley lands, the Niagara Escarpment, Lake Ontario and communities.
We love discovering new pathways to bicycle, run, hike, in-line skate, run, mountain bike, and walk. Some areas also provide opportunities to swim, canoe and kayak.
One of my favourite keep fit areas is the Welland Canals Trail — Joanne: “When I’m cycling along the bike paths, I thoroughly enjoy seeing the ships, boats and communities that border the water. It’s a safe, fun workout.” The Burlington Waterfront Trail is where you’ll find me — Hal: “The wide, paved paths make it safe to skate and the views of the lake are peaceful while I’m increasing my heart rate and keeping fit.”
We never get bored of the trail systems and every time out, it’s a new adventure
If your goal is to be more active this summer, get started now so you can be physically ready for whatever activities you’d like to do. For example, you can easily start to improve your fitness through walking. Start by walking every day or at least 3 to 4 times a week. It depends upon your current fitness level and goals. Start with 15–20 minute walks, then each week increase the walks by 2 to 3 minutes. Once you have achieved the maximum time, for example, 45 to 60 minutes, you can increase the intensity of each walk by walking faster, changing up your route to include more hills or add a weight vest. The key to your success lies within yourself, so lace up your sneakers and put one foot in front of the other.
You can also encourage a friend to join you, hook up with a walking group in your neighbourhood or have your kids join you. If you have children that can’t keep up with you, have them ride their bikes.
It’s time to get planning and get moving this summer. Your local Parks and Recreation programs, community newspapers and the internet can help get you started.
Until Next Time, Keep Fit and Have Fun
— Hal & Joanne • www.bodybreak.com