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Want ideas on how to be physically active as a family this summer?

Here are suggestions from physical education teachers Ron Bass, Jori Cooper, Michael Jennings and Matt Willey:

  • Do activities that you enjoy. For example, if you don't enjoy jogging, go for a hike, a bike ride or try inline skating.
  • If you're at a loss for an idea, consider something you enjoyed doing — or your kids enjoy doing — during PE class.
  • If you want to make a phone call, do it while you're walking. You'll be getting exercise as you catch up with your BFF or grandma.
  • Grab your old ball and mitts or a football and play catch or have a game of whiffle ball in your backyard, front yard or neighborhood park.
  • Buy sidewalk chalk, create sidewalk art as a family and play hopscotch.
  • Dust off your hula hoop and have a hooping dance contest.
  • If you have a basketball hoop — or you have neighbors who don't mind sharing theirs — shoot hoops with your spouse and kids. Pretty soon, other neighborhood kids may join in the fun.
  • Play a game of disc toss in the park. Or play disc golf at Maxwell Park in Normal or at P.J. Irvin or Forrest parks in Bloomington.
  • Buy a kickball or soccer ball and have an impromptu kickball game or soccer match in your neighborhood park.
  • Go to your neighborhood park and take advantage of its amenities. Do modified push-ups against a picnic table. Go the playground and do pull-ups or climb and pretend you're a warrior. Watch out for younger kids.
  • Throughout the summer, check out the dozens of parks in Bloomington and Normal. They include spray parks, nature areas, trails, ball fields, tennis and pickleball courts, swimming pools, skate parks, climbing walls and fishing ponds. 
  • Go to any of the public pools this summer (O'Neil and Holiday in Bloomington and Fairview and Anderson in Normal). Swim or just move in the water. You may be surprised at the amount of exercise you can get in a relatively short period of time.
  • Put on your walking or jogging shoes, or your bike helmet or inline skates and check out different parts of Constitution Trail. A map — including trail heads — is at www.constitutiontrail.org.
  • Run around with your dogs in the dog parks at Maxwell or Shepard parks in Normal.
  • Make up games. Design your own obstacle course in your yard using empty milk jugs and boxes.
  • Consider games that can be played outside or inside on those rainy days. For example, get a deck of cards and take turns turning over cards. Whatever number the dealer turns over, he or she asks everyone to do that number of a certain exercise. For example, if the card is a five, the dealer may ask everyone to do five push-ups. If the card is a six, the dealer may ask everyone to do six lunges.
  • Set a fitness goal. For example, if you can do 10 jumping jacks, give yourself a goal to do 100 jumping jacks non-stop by the end of summer.
  • Plant a small vegetable garden. You'll be physically active planting and tending to the garden all summer. In the fall, you can enjoy vegetables that you and your family have grown. 

Follow Paul Swiech on Twitter: @pg_swiech

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Health Reporter

Health reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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