Take a Hike! Ideas for getting Active with your Family
Updated: Mar 22
Why is it important for families/parents to try to exercise/engage in fitness/partake in energetic fun games together?
It can be hard to find the time as a family to exercise or do a fitness activity together, however it is one of the best ways to enjoy each other’s company and stay healthy. As parents, we are often not the ones suggesting the activities, but our children encourage us to keep moving to stay healthy for their time with us for years to come.
1. What are the benefits of doing so? Our family of seven has built strong family bonds, discovered beautiful new territory and shorelines, and stretched our capacity for energetic fun just by taking hikes together. My husband and I never realized how much fun and physically challenging a hike could be!
2. When is engaging in these activities with your kids most important, based on age group, and why?
I think it is important to engage with your kids at any age, but it should be based on their interests. Our son who could shoot a basketball and hit a baseball at age three, always pulled my husband out to the driveway, onto a court, or out to the back yard to play ball with him. That was a great early bonding experience that was initiated by our son and really required little effort or expense. It yielded great exercise and fun!
3. Please suggest specific activities that parents can partake in with their kids why each suggested activity is beneficial.
Walks: We enjoyed long walks with our children when they were younger in strollers and with handholding because a beautiful walk can take place in almost any location. It taught them good self-care when they were stressed, and it has been a lasting activity throughout their adult lives. We have now added some inside exercise equipment that can mimic that fast-paced walking on the rainy days.
Walk with a Cause: As a family, we have also made a point to participate in walks with a cause such as Any Baby Can of San Antonio’s Walk for Autism (This year's is on April 22, 2023) to bring awareness to the needs of those with disabilities. Our son, Robert, had a very rare mitochondrial disease that caused him to need a wheelchair and was medically fragile for most of his eighteen years. We participated in walks when he was here with us, and now we continue to share his legacy through the amazing theme park called Morgan’s Wonderland in San Antonio where all abilities are welcomed, especially our friends with disabilities. Because our children were taught very early about inclusion for Robert, it is a very natural transition to try to help others enjoy physical activities at Morgan’s Wonderland theme park, Inspiration Island water park, Camp, and Sports complex. For our family, this legacy all started with us walking together and with others in our community. What a way to start to impact our community for good!
Try energetic games that involve moving your body. Our family used to go bowling, so we did that activity together when we wanted something fun to do inside. It is fairly inexpensive, and it was fun to have a little competition against each other!
Swimming is a great way to share time together as a family! It can be fantastic exercise and can be very helpful when more strenuous exercise is off limits. Robert needed a great deal of physical therapy, so a pool was a very helpful addition to his medical care in the summers.
Just get out and do what you can! I have tried new things that I thought I couldn’t do, but my now adult kids have taught me through the years that I can do more physical activities with them than I realized. It is fun and keeps me healthy!