Keeping Your Kids Active During a Heat Wave

This heat wave is sapping many adults’ fitness routines, and when the temperature flirts with triple digits, kids don’t have much enthusiasm for going out to play either.

Making sure kids stay physically active over the summer can present a challenge for parents, said Andy Joggerst, fitness director at Studio Element Personal Training in Richmond Heights. “Finding a time when it’s not too hot for them is key,” he said. “We don’t want to be out when it’s 100 degrees, and neither do they.”

He suggests parents plan outdoor activities during the cool early-morning hours or late in the day, around 6 or 7 p.m., when the sun is no longer quite so intense. They can also take advantage of local rec centers’ open gym hours or buy a pool pass. Even if kids are simply frolicking in splash fountains or bubble jets, Joggerst said, they’re benefiting from being up and moving around.

If it were that easy, this post would end here. But of course it’s not. Joggerst admitted that finding the time to be outdoors during those ideal hours and finding the money for memberships and passes can seem like a strain. He urged parents to make the commitment – and to make their children aware of the importance they’re placing on exercise. “If kids don’t see parents prioritizing, they won’t either,” he explained.

And while parents may rationalize that their kids play enough Wii Fitness to be Olympic athletes, Joggerst downplayed the popular game system’s role in keeping kids healthy. “It’s kind of a social thing,” he said. “Getting a good workout from it? … For a kid, that should not be considered a workout.”

If midday activities fit best into a family’s schedule, Joggerst said the barometer shouldn’t automatically prevent them from being outside. “Usually kids can deal with it better because they tend to be in shape,” he said. The key is keeping them hydrated. His best advice? "Make it fun and make it a priority."

By Amy De La Hunt, Health Blogger for SmartParenting


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Amy De La Hunt is a journalist and editor who lives in the St. Louis metro area and works across the country as a writer, copy editor, project manager and editorial consultant on everything from fiction books to monthly magazines to blog posts. When she's not chauffeuring her teenage sons to activities, Amy is an enthusiastic amateur cook, landscaper, Latin dancer and traveler. Follow Amy on Instagram @amy_in_words

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