Kids today spend 55 hours a week indoors watching TV, playing video games, snacking and less and less time outdoors. How do you get your kid to experience the wonders of nature, develop creativity and learn to appreciate the virtues of exercise? In this article, The YMCA of Van Wert County presents some ideas to spend more time outdoors while engaging in lifelong family habits.

Regular exercise is directly linked to maintaining a healthy weight, reducing the risk of heart disease, increasing muscle strength and enhancing overall well-being. To witness these benefits, you need to be experiencing 30 minutes a day, several times a week. What a great way to encourage healthy habits for the long run by making them a regular family routine?

The YMCA of Van Wert County suggests the following healthy habits to kick off a family exercise program:

Communicate the importance of exercise to your spouse and each other’s goals.

Encourage your children to participate in after-school sports. This improves team skills and coordination

While you engage in a power walk, invite your children to ride their bikes by your side.

Include nightly walks after dinner or Sunday morning bike rides in your routine.

Plan family outings at a park.

Nontraditional “exercise” activities can successfully increase your heart rate and your metabolism. Gardening, painting and house-cleaning are all forms of exertion that burn calories.

Learn a new sport together. Take a family tennis class or attend a rock-climbing session.

A great place to engage in most of these activities lies at Camp Clay on 9196 Liberty Union Road where you can follow a self-guided nature trail or walk around Lake Rotary. At our location, during open hours, we offer a supervised 35 ft. climbing wall, high ropes course and zip line. Enjoy the 1837 log cabin that overlooks Lake Rotary where our Aqua Park is set to open for the season on Memorial Day Weekend (Friday – Sunday) beginning May 24 -26 from 12-6 p.m. and beginning Saturday, May 31 the Aqua Park will be open 7 days a week (Monday-Thursday). During the week the park is open from 12-4 p.m. We are proud to offer this great facility in a town of this size and hope that you can enjoy some family-friendly exercise at our Aqua Park this summer!