In my previous post, I talked about some ideas for active Christmas gifts. Now that you have your gifts sorted, where are we heading for the holidays? The beach, lake, holiday park, bush? Wherever you head here are some ideas for keeping active on holiday. A great time to pull out all those active gifts you received over Christmas. Here I will list ways to be active when camping or in the bush.I see grass and immediately I am thinking “Lets’ run” or “What games could we play here?” Get out the bat and ball games ( cricket, soccer) waterslides, cardboard boxes for zooming down hills, kites, frisbees, hula hoops, water guns, moonhoppers. Do gymnastics or play tag. You name it. Have fun.

Going bush? Fantastic. Excellent opportunities for tramping, walking, running, mountain climbing. Walking through the bush is a great way to improve cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength. Walking is often underestimated as a good form of exercise. Walking is great. Get out there.

In the bush you will find:

•Uneven terrain – great to build muscle strength and tone.

•Hills that will boost your fitness while they seriously work your lungs and legs. Get stuck in. Hills are fun.

•Challenges underfoot; big steps, slippery steep slopes, areas where you are forced to clamber on all fours. Excellent stuff. A great workout.

•Motivation and incentives at the ready. Thinking about why are we here; is it the view, the trees or birds? Whats drawing you? That will be your motivating factor and will get you through the walk.

Yes, we have all been there and know that bush walks take on a whole new dimension when doing them with kids. If you are going with kids you may need to slow your own pace down. This is hard if you are anything like me and want to take off and run the track.

Top tips for survival with kids on a bush walk:

1. If you know you will want to go hard and motor through the bush, get your run / exercise done before the family bush walk. Then you be in a better place to help the younger ones with tree roots, slippery or steep paths, and other obstacles.

2. If you are walking on a route you know may be challenging distract the kids by talking about:

  • survival in the bush
  • your experiences in the bush
  • native trees/birds
  • point out interesting things/views

3. If you are over it and just want to get back quickly make up a game where you have to run every so often! I used to do this when we had preschoolers! Fruit salad is a good one I made up. We take turns to call out the name of a fruit or vege. When some one can’t think of one then he calls out fruit salad. Then we all have to run for as long as we can!

4. Always pack lots of snacks and expect to take more rest stops than you would on your own or with other adults.

5. Have fun out there. Enjoy being in the bush. The sounds, the textures, the smells are enticing.

If you are going to be at a holiday park pick one with heaps of built in activities. We spent Labour Weekend at Taupo Top 10 Holiday Resort.  There were go carts, basketball hoops, tennis courts, swimming pools, New Zealand’s Largest jumping pillow! A great place to go with everything at your doorstep.

There you go some ideas for you this summer. I want you to remember to rest, relax and recover too. This is what holidays are all about. It is important to be active but we need time to chill out too.

Rest or recovery days help to heal the body and prevent injury. You need to rest in order to boost fitness too. Listen to your body, let it be your guide. As with anything balance is key. Get out and enjoy being active in those long summer days. Utilise well your active Christmas gifts. Remember then to chill and take it quietly with friends and family.

I wish you and your family a fun filled festive season. Merry Christmas everyone!

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Lynda Lovatt is a qualified fitness exercise consultant with a special interest in pregnancy, post-natal fitness and promoting fitness for mums of older children. She delivers menopausal fitness classes and personal training sessions in Wellington. See her website for more about Lynda.

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