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Outdoor Activities

As temperatures rise, families are taking their exercise activities from indoors to outdoors. With the summer weather upon us, there are many outdoor activities that will get your heart pumping while enjoying the sun.

Consistent physical activity can help prevent obesity, especially in children. While sports are a great way to get the recommended 60 minutes of exercise each day, free play is equally advantageous. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, free play is as important and beneficial as organized sports. In fact, organized sports should supplement free play time.

Families can encourage free play in their own backyards. A game of tag that involves continuous running is a great aerobic exercise for both children and adults. Balls and jump ropes are inexpensive play equipment that also can encourage free play activities. In addition, with many public parks located throughout the Capital Region, families have ample access to playgrounds and play equipment to help stimulate free play.

Organized sports such as basketball, volleyball, baseball, and soccer also can be played in the backyard or on courts in public parks or at YMCA facilities. Swimming is another popular summer outdoor activity that all family members can enjoy. Children should be supervised by an adult during any sports activity.

When having fun in the sun, remember that warm temperatures can lead to heat-related illnesses. Wear lightweight and light-colored clothing when engaging in outdoor activities. Use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 and reapply throughout the day according to the manufacturer's instructions. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and rest in a cool, shaded area regularly throughout the day.

As the adult, be sure to set a good example for children by following the safety tips you give out and attending a local course in CPR and first aid so you have the ability and knowledge to help your children or others if needed. By keeping safety at the forefront of everyone's mind, these safety measures will become second nature.

*Consult with your health care provider before beginning any diet or exercise plan.

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