Have an Active Summer

Set yourself up for a season of physical activity and fun.

Do a little advance prep to make this your family's most active summer so far. These suggestions will help you get ready for a season that offers so many opportunities for fun fitness. It's not about fitting into a smaller swimsuit; it's about enjoying the outdoors, the weather, and your family, and feeling good while you do.

Make a to-do list.

Father and son kayaking
Ramiro Olaciregui/Moment/Getty Images

This one's not for household chores or projects. It's for fun! Make a list of activities to try and places to visit this summer. You might even create a challenge for your family to complete—say, checking out five new parks or trails, learning a new sport together, raising vegetables in your yard, or just tasting a new fruit or veggie every week. (Be sure to visit a few farmer's markets if you pick that last one!)

Stock up on sun protection.

Stephen Bennett

If you still have sunscreen hanging around from last year, check it for expiration dates and discard anything that's past due. If your tube or bottle doesn't have an expiration date and you are confident that it's less than three years old, you can still use it, unless the smell or texture has changed. Purchase replacements; stick-style sunscreens are great for outdoor exercise, as are hats, visors, and sunglasses. Refresh your memory on sun safety rules and make sure kids know and follow them too.

Round up toys and sports gear.

Sporting Goods Organizer by JJ International
JJ International

Why is it that during the winter, the summer toys and sporting goods migrate to far-flung corners of the house and garage, hiding in the shadows and gathering dust? As summer approaches, enlist your kids' help, then go on a hunt. Create a grab-and-go station for baseball mitts, soccer balls, jump ropes, and other outdoor toys. If you have the space, a sports organizer (compare prices) is ideal; it can corral balls, bats, racquets, shoes, and more. Now is also the time to get those tennis racquets restrung, have bikes tuned up, see if kids need new swim goggles, and so on.

Pack an on-the-go bag for outings.

Stash some of that new sunscreen in a ready-to-grab bag for day trips and other excursions. You might also want insect repellent, hand sanitizer, a mini first-aid kit, empty water bottles, some nonperishable snacks, and items from this playground packing list, as appropriate for your family's needs. It's also handy to have bags pre-packed for the pool and for kids' sporting events. Be sure to replenish your supplies during the course of the summer as needed.

Set a goal.

Pick a 5K, bike tour, volleyball tournament, charity fundraiser, or other special event that includes physical activity and is held in late summer or early fall. You can do it with your kids, your partner, or a group of friends. Then fork over the registration fee. Now you have some extra motivation to be active all summer long so you can be ready for your event.

Ramp up your fitness routine.

If you really do want to lose some weight this summer, and/or improve your strength and fitness levels, About Exercise Guide Paige Waehner has a plan ready for you. It's full of sensible, detailed advice that you can adapt to your own needs and lifestyle. Good luck!

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