We all want our children to be healthy and active. In order to help them build healthy habits, it is important that we instill a love of physical activity early in life. Many parents’ first thought when it comes to getting their children involved in a physical activity is school sports. While sports can be a fantastic way for children to learn to love fitness, they are not the only means we have. Many children do not enjoy the competitive aspect of sports and may find this intimidating, and it can be hard for them to get past that if they feel they do not have the skill necessary for the sport.

During the summer months, children will naturally want to head outside to play. This is a perfect chance to foster a love of fitness while keeping them active and healthy. Outside of a competitive situation, children will be more likely to open up about things they are interested in. Now is a great time to teach them something new, build new memories with them, and help them learn how to take care of themselves as an adult. There are a number of ways for you to stay active as a family while teaching your children to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Trampoline Parks
If you have young children, chances are you have heard of trampoline parks. A trampoline park is a type of gymnasium filled with trampolines, slacklines, foam pits, and agility courses. This is a great way to spend the day with the family and test your children’s interest in a variety of activities all in one go. They might discover an interest in gymnastics, slacklining, or even just running the obstacle courses. They are also a great way for parents to burn off calories as they join their children in the fun and help them learn how to do tricks and navigate tough courses.
Rock Climbing
Rock climbing is a thrilling way to teach your family about fitness and get them all involved in a family activity. Starting outdoors might seem intimidating, so try looking up a rock climbing gym instead to start out indoors. Climbing gyms often have classes, instructors, and walls with varying difficulties available for all skill levels, which makes learning how to rock climb much less scary for those who do not know where to begin. Working up to new difficulty levels can also help your family learn about goal setting, with the next level serving as a strength training goal.

We all remember the thrill of riding our bikes down the street as children. Why wait to show that same thrill to our own children? Biking is wonderful exercise that promotes leg strength and balance, which helps us stay healthy throughout our lives by supporting our hips and backs. The best part is that everyone in the family is able to take part. Even infants can join in, as many companies now make specialized seats and wagons for younger children that attach to bicycles. Learning to ride a bike is an important rite of passage for many people, and helping children set a goal to ride without training wheels can help them learn how to stick to their objective.

If you or your children are not keen on the idea of competitive sports, try going to your local archery range. Archery is a fun way to feel connected to times gone by and to build strength in your arms and back. Your children will love feeling like a fantasy hero as they learn to shoot properly and how to correct mistakes as they go. Just make certain that they understand and follow all shooting precautions, and that they have all the equipment they need such as arm and finger guards.

Dancing is a wonderful way to introduce fitness to your children at a young age. Many classes encourage young dancers to practice at home, which is perfect for helping teach children about good habits. In addition, many studios offer things like “Mommy and Me” or “Daddy and Me” dance classes to encourage family togetherness and education.

Horseback Riding
While it might seem like the horse is doing all the work, horseback riding is actually a great way to get outside and stay active. You’ll never run out of things to do in horseback riding either. There are many kinds of riding that you can try, including trail riding, competitive jumping, and even racing. Learning to ride horses is exciting and teaches kids to respect animals and how to care for them. If your child is one who tends to favor more quiet activities, horseback riding might just be the way to help bring them out of their shell.

Ice Skating
During the hot summer months, it can be difficult enough to find ways to keep yourself moving while you stay cool, let alone your entire family. Search for your local ice skating rink to see what they have available. While free-skate time is great for an afternoon of family fun, they may offer more resources such as figure skating coaches, hockey leagues and speed skating. There’s nothing like gliding across the smooth surface of the ice rink to add a little magic to your fitness routine, and learning to do fun tricks and impress friends makes it even better. Skating is an excellent cardio workout and will foster total body strength and balance. It might seem a bit scary at first, but once you get the hang of it it is a perfect family activity.

If your kids are not interested in sports, or even if they are and are simply in the off-season, there are plenty of ways to get exercise as a family. Children who are active throughout childhood tend to grow into adults with healthy routines and fewer issues with obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and other obesity-related health concerns. There is also the added bonus of spending extra time with your children and teaching them new things–even learning beside them to make it less scary for them as they try something new.