by Don Zabloski
Family vacations lead to new adventures and traditions that will enhance your family conversations and memories for years to come.
A vacation can also be a time to enhance everyone’s physical literacy skills by planning active adventures or trying new activities and sports. For example, you can walk or hike into a rainforest; swim, snorkel, or scuba dive with marine life; ride a zipline above the treetops; or ski (downhill or cross-country) over new terrain. The experience may help your family members realize how capable they are of handling new challenges.
If you can, seek out accommodations that offer various types of activity lessons for many age groups. Tennis, golf, bike rentals, open water activities and pool-based games allow you to enjoy the outdoors and expend some energy while you’re at it. Larger cities may offer walking or cycling tours, zoos, museums and parks that all rely on your own active transport.
Cruise ship packages for families usually cater to children of all ages. They’ve got wall climbing, water slides, mini golf, table tennis and more. Ever wonder what it’s like to run on a moving ship? You won’t know until you try it! One of the challenges on cruises is the non-stop access to food. Try not to break the pattern of healthy nutritious eating that everyone has worked on. Consider six smaller meals throughout the day rather than three larger meals. Just like at home, special treats are also acceptable. Another bonus of vacation time is that it gives you the opportunity to sit together and dine as a family.
Staying home instead of heading away? There are ways to be active during a “staycation” as well. Sign the kids up for a March Break sports camp or get a one-week trial pass to a local fitness facility. Instead of going to the same old places, check out parks, playgrounds, community trails, arenas and swimming pools in other areas of the city. You’ll expand your range of active options
and possibly meet some like-minded families.
When your time off comes to a close, everyone will feel better if you have maintained your usual routines of daily physical activity and healthy eating as much as possible. Your experiences may lead to changes in your post-vacation routines. You may be inspired to walk to school or work, reduce your screen time, or find new activities in your community. Although your vacation may have ended, your active efforts shouldn’t.
Don Zabloski is a former Physical Education and Health Consultant currently residing in Victoria, B.C. He is also the co-author of Running Room’s Book on Family Fitness with John Stanton.