Jun 15, 2015 3:00 PM

Author: Rachel Finlayson

School is out! A lack of mandatory outdoor recess, more time to watch TV, and fewer organized sports activities mean many kids might gain weight during the summer months. 

Other factors also make it harder for kids to stay fit. Working parents often find there’s no time for big family outings after getting home and eating dinner. In addition, many families can’t afford summer camp fees or other summer sports activities.

The solution? Cindy Gellner, MD, of University of Utah Health, says simple, low-cost activities work best and parents should set an example of getting out and doing things the family enjoys. “Go for a family walk,” she recommends. Other ideas include visiting playgrounds and local recreation centers. “Playgrounds are a great way for kids to burn off energy, and kids love to go play with their friends,” says Gellner. "Most recreational centers offer low family monthly fees for access to gyms, swimming pools and  activities such as dance classes—some even offer Tae Kwon Do.”

The benefits of an active summer also include better-behaved children. “Kids can get bored and act up when there isn’t much to do over the summer,” Gellner explains. “Finding ways to keep them doing fun and healthy activities benefits everyone.”

Ultimately, it’s keeping things fun in the summer months that gets kids and parents to stay active and healthy. “If you try to do something that isn’t fun, you won’t stick with it,” says Gellner.  "If you find something you like doing, it actually becomes something you look forward to.” 

Whether it’s swimming, walking or enjoying the local park, find what you love to do. There are many ways for families to enjoy the summer and maintain good health. 

Rachel Finlayson

Rachel Finlayson is an intern in the Office of Public Affairs.

kids health fitness

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