Taking Family Time to Get Fit and Connect
By Barb Cronin, YMCA Of Greater Brandywine
As business professionals, most days are spent sitting down inside often in front of the computer. Finding the time to get active can be a challenge and doing the same thing day after day can really make the weeks drag by endlessly. With summer fading and kids back to school days will be the same for them. Hours are spent in classrooms, listening to teachers, being mostly inactive. Not only does it get boring, this sedentary lifestyle is bad for our health.
Physical activity is a great way to ward off the day to day drag. It’s essential to keep active year round for many reasons. Regular, physical activity has been proven to be good for your health; both physical and mental. Not only do fit individuals have less chronic diseases they also experience less anxiety and depression. This holds true for children and adolescents too.
Taking time on the weekends to get moving as a family can make the work and school week a lot easier – and more productive too. In fact, recent research from the Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois, suggests that aerobically fit students may have higher academic achievement, especially in mathematics. But this isn’t the only benefit; spending time as a family builds and strengthens vital family bonds – also critical for optimal health and wellness.
Now is the perfect time to start a family weekend routine of getting active together. Here are five great ways to get moving outside while the weather still allows.
Top 5 Fall Outdoor Activities
- Brandywine River – The lower branch of the Brandywine River spans a picturesque twenty miles in Chester County. From fishing and swimming to tubing and canoeing, the Brandywine River is a great place to spend time outside. Rentals are available at local outfitters along the river.
- Marsh Creek State Park – This 1,700 acre state park is home to Marsh Creek Lake. This man-made lake is 535 acres large and home to fishing and water sports. From kayaking and paddle boarding to paddle boats and windsurfing, Marsh Creek offers something for everyone.
- Chester Valley Trail – This 13 mile trail follows the original Chester Valley Railroad route formed in 1850. Beginning in Spring 2016 this trail will be extended to span from the Struble Trail in Downingtown to connect with the Schuylkill River Trail in Norristown. Walk, run or bike along this scenic route. There are numerous parking lots along the trail route.
- Orchard Visits – Chester County offers an abundance of orchards most with “pick your own” fruits options. From apples and pumpkins in late summer and fall to strawberries and blueberries in the summer, local orchards are a great way to get outside, get active and enjoy locally sourced produce.
- Hiking in the Parks – Chester County’s rolling hills and valleys with creeks and rivers winding through offer some of the most beautiful sites around. Fall foliage brings even more spectacular views. Visit one of Chester County’s local parks for a picnic and hike. Go to www.chesco.org/ccparks for specific trail and park information.
With these five tips in mind, get moving this weekend while you can still get outside without too many layers. But once the colder weather hits, don’t miss other chances to stay fit and active. Winters can seem endless and one of the best ways to avoid weight gain, lessen chronic aches and pain and beat the winter blues is to stay active throughout these dismal months.
Consider joining a gym or community center to keep moving all year long. The YMCA of Greater Brandywine has nine branches in Chester County offering a variety of programs for all ages and fitness levels. From Latin-inspired Zumba and yoga to swimming and martial arts classes; there’s something to keep everyone moving and having fun year round at the Y.
The YMCA of Greater Brandywine is a leading Chester County non-profit charity dedicated to strengthening community through programs that support youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. With more than 80,000 members at nine facilities, the YMCA of Greater Brandywine invites all people to participate in membership and programs, regardless of their ability to pay. Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change.
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