Keeping Your Kids Active This Summer

Studies show that over the summer kids can lose much of what they learned during the school year. By planning activities for your kids this summer, you’re keeping them physically, mentally and socially strong. The added structure to their daily routine is a bonus for the entire family.

 

Staying Active

Federal guidelines show that kids aged 6-17 need 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity every single day. This includes a mixture of aerobic and strengthening exercises recommended at least three days per week.

  • Aerobic: hiking, walking, skateboarding, rollerblading, swimming
  • Muscle strengthening: climbing rope/trees/monkey bars, tug-of-war games
  • Bone strengthening: running, hopscotch, jump rope

 

Brain Training

Exercising their brain is also critical to the development of your children. Help keep their problem-solving and critical thinking skills strong, so they’ll be prepared come September.

  • Practice: Go through schoolwork packets together
  • Creative time: write and tell stories, draw pictures, build structures with LEGOs
  • New Skills: DIY projects, gardening, cooking—anything to keep kids thinking

 

Social Skills

Your children can still grow their social skills this summer even when social distancing. Being around their peers in a virtual environment will help them learn how to express their feelings, thoughts, and ideas.

  • Camp: If open and safe to attend, consider overnight or day camp which provides social skills, physical activity and brain training
  • Classes: are they interested in dancing, drama, or learning to code? Sign them up! There are many online and virtual classes available
  • Friends: a neighborhood party is a great way to be social and be active outside—just be sure to maintain proper social distancing and safety guidelines

 

Having a structure and routine will keep your kids learning, growing, and free of boredom. Planning activities that you know your kids will enjoy are key to keeping them physically, mentally, and socially active this summer.

 

 

Staying Healthy When Dealing With Stress

In times of high stress and uncertainty, it’s easy to let our routines and healthy habits fall to the wayside. But if we let anxiety and stress overwhelm us, our health could suffer. This is the opposite of what your body and mind need! Let’s talk about some easy ways to focus on nutrition and mental health during overwhelming times or a crisis.

 

Healthy Eating

It may be tempting to stock up and binge on non-perishables such as chips, cookies and crackers, but these are mostly void of nutritional value. A consistently nutritious diet (with a few treats here and there) is critical for maintaining bodyweight, avoiding illness, and minimizing stress. Here are some food choices to focus on:

  • Healthy fats: avocados, eggs, nuts for satiety and mood regulation
  • Lean proteins: help to balance and boost serotonin levels
  • Bananas: rich in B vitamins for nervous system function
  • Citrus fruits: shown to decrease stress; Vitamin C boosts immunity
  • Dark, leafy greens: regulate cortisol and blood pressure

If you’re spending more time at home with your family, now is a great time to try new foods and recipes. Coming together to create a meal is a perfect way to bond and stay connected.

 

Exercise

If your local gym, fitness center, or group class isn’t accessible, you don’t need to forfeit your physical activity efforts. When you keep with your exercise routine—even if the activity looks different—you’re helping your body and mind. If you don’t have access to your favorite instructors or equipment, try these at home:

  • Take daily walks around your house or neighborhood
  • Use trails for hiking and safe roads for running
  • Strength train using bodyweight or items around the house
  • Take advantage of streaming apps or social media for home workouts

Keeping your body moving lowers stress and risk of illnesses and maintains your bodyweight, all of which are essential to your health. Don’t forget that yard work and other household chores also get your body moving!

 

Mental Health

A healthy diet and exercise are essential, but your mental health is just as important especially in times of unease. If you’re having anxious thoughts and feelings, reacting to stress in a negative way, and are having trouble sleeping, then your mental health may need your attention.

Try some of the following when you’re stressed or anxious:

  • Step outside: fresh air and Vitamin D are good for boosting mood
  • Deep breathing: focused, mindful breathing eases anxiety and stress
  • Meditation: consistent practice can keep your mind calm and centered
  • Stretching: loosens muscles and brings awareness to any tension

There are many ways to address your mental health, some may work for you and some may not. This is okay! Find what works and adopt them into your routine.

Additionally, getting proper sleep is vital to your overall health. When we are asleep, our body is restoring muscles from exercise, digesting the meals we’ve enjoyed, and improving our memory and cognition.

Adapting to a new routine in a time of stress may take some time. Be consistent and patient with yourself. Keeping your body and mind healthy are the best things you can do in a time of uncertainty.

If stress or anxiety is impacting your day-to-day life, reach out to a medical professional right away.