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Taking a road trip with your kids can be an unforgettable experience. The open road leads to endless possibilities and a chance not only to bond with your children, but also create memories that last a lifetime. But the road also presents challenges and obstacles, specifically in the way of your health. How do you enjoy your time on the road, but also practice healthy habits and stay active at the same time? It is all about creativity and thinking outside the box. When you were a kid what did you do to stay active? Some of us played on the playground and found fun games we could play using only our imagination. The open road is a great way to re-visit your imagination again. 

Stopping Rest Stops 

Stopping at rest areas along your route is a great starting point. Here are some ideas for things you can do when you stop to stay active.

  1. Make a workout out of doing dips, step ups, and jumps on a picnic table for 10 minutes. 
  2. Eat a healthy picnic meal while you are there. The food will help you save money from eating fast food restaurants, and the quick exercise break will re-energize you and your kids for more time on the open road. 

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, children and adolescents ages 6 and older need at least an hour a day of physical activity. On a long trip, schedule in two to three breaks like this throughout your day to keep you and your kids active and healthy out on the open road. 

Exercise in Challenging Areas 

Rest stops are great if you are on the highway with nothing around, but what it you are in a bustling city and rest stops are nowhere to be found? Staying active on the road can be difficult due to exhaustion from a long day of driving. You may also find yourself being weary of exploring a new place, not knowing where to start with exercise/movement, etc. Even with these barriers of exercising on the road, try to look at the opportunity of being on the road to explore a new place. Here are some options to consider:

  1. Walking Trails. Using apps like Google maps will help find quick local walking trails to stay active on the road. There are great apps you can use if you want to hike/run/bike a new area like All Trails
  2. Playground Equipment. You can also google parks near you and use any playground equipment as workout equipment.
  3. Body Weight Exercises. You can do body weight exercises like squats, pushups, planks, etc. without any gym equipment but you can use playground equipment like monkey bars to do pull ups, use steps for incline/decline pushups, etc. Use the area around you to exercise!

Getting out and exploring nature is extremely satisfying and is a great way to exercise and stay active all while enjoying the sights and sounds of the area you are in. Studies have shown that spending time in green space—even as little at 30 minutes—refreshes both the body and mind.

About the author

Matt and Sarah run the Driver Health and Fitness Program at Prime Inc. Matt is a Certified Exercise Physiologist and Sarah is a registered Dietician Nutritionist.

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