Friday, June 7, 2013

Guest Blog Post: 5 Fun Exercise Activities and a Healthy Recipe for Your Family

There's a first time for everything and I guess it's time I add some Guest Bloggers to the rotation! Carolyn from Full-On Fit sent me this great post about getting out and moving this summer - check it out!

5 Fun Exercise Activities and a Healthy Recipe for Your Family

March was National Nutrition Month, and even though we are now sweltering in the summer heat, it’s still important for families to review various ways to stay healthy. With obesity rates in children and families still on the rise, and with summer finally here, many people are especially eager to get fit. Unfortunately, this is also about the time of year when people tend to let go of their New Year's resolutions to exercise and eat healthy. Your year doesn't have to be this way. With the following exercise ideas, you can keep your entire family healthy through the warmer months and beyond.

Hiking in Sand or Soggy Ground
Hiking is excellent exercise for the entire body, and it can be an adventure for parents and kids alike. While some places are already warm enough to start strolling the beach, other locations are still drying out from soggy winters. In either case, hiking can be made more interesting and challenging. Walking on a hard sidewalk is stable and easy, but walking any distance on soft dirt or sand is another story. You'll get an excellent workout, and your kids will have a blast walking on these new surfaces.

If you want to keep your entire family at a higher level of fitness, start a family running regimen. Running has numerous benefits, and there are plenty of ways to add variety to a running program, including races, track running and cross-country. For example, try charity races for a boost of positivity or even run a half-marathon if everybody is up to it. Indoor tracks can be convenient when it's too hot to run outdoors. Cross-country running at parks or nature reserves brings stimulating adventures every time.

Start Gardening
Gardening can provide exercise for everybody, and it can also bring a healthy harvest if you plant fresh fruits and veggies. By switching jobs during the workday, each family member can get a full-body workout. For example, one person can dig holes while another prunes plants. Other jobs include mixing fertilizer, sand and mulch into the soil, weeding plant beds and planting or transplanting additions to the garden. To enhance the family feelings of togetherness in this activity, include everybody in the planning from the beginning. Then, give each person the chance to work on bringing his or her idea to fruition throughout the season!

Get into Fitness
Don’t be afraid to branch out a bit and try some different kinds of fitness classes. You can visit a local gym for a class like Zumba, Kickboxing, Pilates, or Yoga. Or, you can rent some DVD’s and try some of these exercises right in your own home. My cousins love to come over and do Yoga with me on the weekends, which is great because it benefits all of us. According to orthopedic surgeons at St. Joseph’s Orthopedic Center, yoga increases one’s flexibility, balance, posture, overall strength, and bone and joint health – all things I want to increase, and definite benefits to my young cousins who are still developing!

Urban Hiking
Whether you live in a large city or small town, you can enhance an exercise program with foot treks around your area. This can be far more enjoyable than the same old circuits around the neighborhood. Walking
several miles through different neighborhoods and parks will enhance your appreciation for your area and might stimulate your interest in future long-distance walks to see what else is nearby. In small towns, you may be able to circle the town to get a fascinating feel for its scale. Afterwards, your family might feel inspired to regularly walk to the store, school and other places instead of driving.

Recipe for Exercise Recovery
Staying fit will require plenty of healthy calories to refuel the body. Here's a quick recipe that you can serve after an exercise session to keep your family nourished and happy.

Totally Healthy Tacos

- Non-GMO corn tortilla shells
- Reduced-fat shredded cheese
- Frozen lean chicken breast strips
- Arugula
- Fat-free re-fried beans
- Organic taco sauce
- Extra-virgin olive oil

Heat the chicken breast strips in the oven as specified on the package. If desired, toast taco shells in the broiler. Finely chop arugula for spreading over tops of tacos. Fill tacos as desired with chicken breast strips and re-fried beans, add cheese shreds and arugula and drizzle the tops of the tacos with healthy olive oil. Serve and enjoy!

The activities above will help you and your family stay healthy throughout the year. Always focus on keeping things fresh by trying new activities that everybody will enjoy. If your regimen never goes stale, you'll look forward to your exercise time instead of dreading it. By getting started now, you can count on looking better for the spring and summer months, and your kids will start making healthy habits that will serve them for a lifetime.

Carolyn is a 20-something year old with a passion for life, fitness and overall well-being. She is an avid cycler, golfer and has been known to bust some serious moves on the dance floor. Check out Carolyn’s blog at!

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