Swing into Spring 2022: Family activities to get kids off the couch

The Daily Sentinel looks at warm weather living and activity in the Mohawk Valley region.

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Thanks to increasingly busy weekday schedules that have families running in different directions for work, school and extracurricular activities, weekends are an ideal time to recharge. Too often, however, family members retire to their respective rooms, devices in hand.

Kommando Tech says people spend an average of three hours and 15 minutes on their phones each day, with Americans spending 5.4 hours a day using phones. Those statistics do not include how much additional time is likely spent on devices like tablets or laptops.

Chances are phones are being used while lounging on the couch or bed, something that has negative health consequences for many children and adults.

A sedentary lifestyle can lead to weight gain, loss of muscle strength, weak bones, diminished immune system response, and poor blood circulation, according to the health information site Medline.

These fun activities can get kids and parents off the couch on weekends.

Take a family bike ride.

Inflate those tires and tighten your helmet chin straps. A family bike ride is an ideal activity for the family because it is something that can be enjoyed by all age groups.

Choose the pace and the terrain based on the age of the youngest and/or oldest rider (flat, easy-to-navigate paths for the very young or the elderly), and enjoy exercise in the great outdoors.

Wash the cars. It’s a chore, but it’s one that has the potential for lots of laughs along the way — and possibly a suds fight. Washing vehicles also is a great way to cool off when the weather is warm.

Engage in sports training. Whether the children participate in organized sports or not, set up an obstacle course or fitness circuit in the backyard. Everyone takes turns going through the course. The family can spend time together as everyone gets beneficial exercise.

Do a walking tour. Educational attractions like museums, zoos, aquariums and arboretums are great to visit on weekends.

The family will see new sights and learn important information about exhibits, all the while walking a few miles.

Visit an amusement park. Research the nearest amusement park and take a road trip for the day. Hours will be spent walking around the park and going on thrilling rides. Consider discounted memberships or season passes if this is the type of activity the family plans to repeat.

Check out a driving range. Practice golf swings at a driving range or a virtual driving range. Everyone can compete to see whose drive is the longest.

The possibilities for physically active family engagement are endless and beneficial for the body in myriad ways.

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