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Outdoor Activities You Can Still Enjoy During The Pandemic

Holly Smith

By: Holly Smith, M.D. - Osteopathic Medicine, B.S. - Dietetics, NASM-PES Certified Trainer,

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

outdoor activities

Enjoy nature, family time, and get fit and healthy all at the same time with some awesome outdoor activities that the whole family can enjoy.

The weather is warming up and the kids are at home, which means there is no better time to get outside and active.

But with many places still closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, you may have to get creative with your outdoor fun.

Family Fun with Outdoor Activities

Luckily, there are still plenty of enjoyable and challenging activities you can do with your family to keep everyone active and in great shape.

Staying in shape and healthy is even more fun when you can share this fit lifestyle with your family.

Plus you can spend more time with your family and strengthen family bonds through exercise.

 

Physical Activity and Family Fitness

Outdoor activities are an awesome way to spend quality time with your family in a fun and enjoyable way. Not only this, but physical activity will have numerous health benefits for you and your kids.

Physical activity in children and adolescents helps build muscular strength, cardiovascular fitness, and improves cognition, mood, and sleep! (1)

This makes getting outdoors and active a much better alternative than having the kids inside in front of the TV.

Make Exercise Fun

Keeping your kids physically active will motivate them to continue these healthy habits into their adult years. This is especially true when they see you enjoying these activities with them.

Studies show that motivation for exercise in adolescents may be enhanced when they participate in activities that they find enjoyable (2).

Plus, it is a lot easier to convince your kids to work out if they see it as a fun activity instead of a chore.

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The Best Outdoor Family Activities

Running Trails

Hit the trails, roads, or sidewalks around your neighborhood and enjoy a walk or run with the family. Being out in the sunshine and fresh air is a great way to stay in shape and lift your spirits while many places remain in lock down.

You can go for a leisurely walk, or pick up the pace and challenge your kids to some races. Either way, you will be getting a great cardio workout. And don’t forget, running will also build leg and core strength as well.

Plus, if you are looking to achieve some new running goals, studies have shown that runners experience an increase in performance when training with others (3).

So running with your family can increase your cardiovascular fitness and improve your run times!

You can go for a nice easy jog or you can add some friendly competitive sprint intervals to increase the intensity.

Another idea is to train for a family 5K, and once races start up again you guys can even enter a race and make it a fun competition.

Biking

Cycling is another great lower body and cardio workout.

You will also get a great ab workout as you will engage your core muscles to keep yourself balanced.

You can check online to find out if there are any trails or designated bike lanes in your area to get the family moving.

Family bike rides are a great way to stay in shape.

Studies have found that during exercise people tend to push themselves harder when they are working out with others, so this is an excellent time to not only train together but improve each other’s fitness.

For example, in a 2010 study from the Journal of Social Sciences, 91 college students were randomly assigned to one of three conditions:

  • Biking alone
  • Biking with a high fitness training partner
  • Biking with someone of lower fitness

The findings showed that people working out with high fitness training partners worked the hardest (4).

So if you find that you are lacking motivation, just getting out there and exercising with your family may be the push that you need.

Kayaking

If you live by a lake, river, or even the ocean, kayaking is an awesome family activity. This heart-pumping sport is great to build muscles in the arms, back, and chest while simultaneously giving you a great cardiovascular workout.

And getting out in the open water is a fun way to explore a different part of the outdoors. Whether in a lake or the ocean, spending time with your family in nature while also getting in shape is an unbeatable combination.

Paddleboarding

Paddleboarding is another fun water sport that is an all-over body workout. Forcing yourself to balance as you paddle through the water challenges your core muscles while building strength in the upper and lower body.

Paddleboarding is a unique and enjoyable activity that has been shown to improve aerobic and anaerobic fitness, while also building core strength.

Not only that, but paddleboarding has also been found to have psychological benefits and can enhance quality of life! (5).

Tennis

Grab some rackets and head out to the tennis courts. Many areas are starting to reopen outdoor activities with social distancing precautions, and this includes tennis courts.

A tennis match will have you racing across the courts nonstop, making this a great conditioning exercise, but also a fun family activity.

Tennis is not only a great cardio activity but requires excellent core strength and agility. Plus, you will be getting a killer full-body strength workout.

And, because it is a game, you can make it a fun family competition!

Family Hikes

Hiking is an excellent workout for the whole family. Try to find some trails nearby and get everyone out for the day to explore.

Not only does hiking have amazing health benefits, but it also will introduce your family to all that nature has to offer.

Hiking builds cardiovascular fitness, along with lower body and core strength. Plus, hiking on more technical trails will improve your balance and coordination.

Not only is hiking great for your physical health, but this is another activity that has also shown numerous mental health benefits.

Studies on the Appalachian Trail have shown that hiking can increase your quality of life, self-reliance, fun, enjoyment of life, and relationships with others (6).

So not only will you be improving the physical health of yourself and your family, but you will be building stronger bonds along the way as you enjoy nature and all of its surroundings.

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Outdoor Activities for the Whole Family

When you’re a busy mom, finding time to take care of your family while also keeping up on your fitness goals can definitely be a challenge.

Being able to combine family time with physical fitness is a great way to achieve this goal.

Not only will you be enhancing your own fitness, but you'll be introducing your kids to the benefits that physical activity has on health.

These are lessons that they'll carry with them for years to come. And you will be spending quality family time with them while still getting in a workout.

Even with many places still closed down, there are a number of outdoor activities that are safe and fun to enjoy. It’s all about being creative!

And being in the outdoors is great for mental and emotional health as well. So get the family moving this summer with some fun outdoor activities.

Your new friend & health coach,

Holly Smith
Holly Smith

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

Holly is an osteopathic physician, runner, triathlete, and fitness and nutrition enthusiast.

She is board certified in nephrology and internal medicine, has a bachelors degree in dietetics and is a certified personal trainer with NASM-PES certification.

Holly has completed four full ironmans, twelve marathons, countless half ironmans, olympic distance triathlons, half marathons and numerous other road races.

Holly joined the Fit Father Project in May 2019 as a regular writer, contributing articles on health, wellness, exercise, and nutrition.

She has also recently qualified for the 2020 World Championships for Ironman 70.3, in New Zealand!


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If you’re a busy mom who wants to finally lose weight, get healthy, and actually keep the pounds off for good, this is the simple program you’ll love sticking to…

Our Fit Mother 30X Program (FM30X) is the answer you’ve been looking for. Inside FM30X, you’ll receive:

  • The simple & delicious Fit Mother Meal Plan with easy recipes for you and your family.
  • The metabolism-boosting Fit Mother 30X Workout (under 90 min/week) to kickstart your metabolism for fast fat burning.
  • VIP email coaching where we’ll personally walk you through the program.
Learn More About FM30X

*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on outdoor activities.

References:

1. Kumar, B., Robinson, R., & Till, S. (2015).
Physical activity and health in adolescence. Clinical medicine (London, England), 15(3), 267–272. https://doi.org/10.7861/clinmedicine.15-3-267

2. Schneider, M. L., & Kwan, B. M. (2013).
Psychological need satisfaction, intrinsic motivation and affective response to exercise in adolescents. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 14(5), 776-785.

3. Assomo Ndemba, P. B., Temfemo, A., Guessogo, W. R., & Mekoulou Ndongo, J. (2019).
Effect of Peer Influence during the Twelve Minute Run Test and the 20 M Shuttle Run Test: A Randomized Crossover Trial. J Athl Enhanc 8: 1. of, 4, 2-3.

4. Plante, T. G., Madden, M., Mann, S., & Lee, G. (2010).
Effects of perceived fitness level of exercise partner on intensity of exertion.

5. Schram, B., Hing, W., & Climstein, M. (2016).
The physiological, musculoskeletal and psychological effects of stand up paddle boarding. BMC sports science, medicine & rehabilitation, 8, 32. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13102-016-0057-6

6. Hill, E., Goldenberg, M., & Freidt, B. (2009).
Benefits of hiking: A means-end approach on the Appalachian Trail. Journal of Unconventional Parks, Tourism & Recreation Research, 2(1), 19-27.

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