Getting Kids Outside to Exercise

exercising outsideCold weather naturally causes many people to stay indoors more often. The added pressure of needing to socially distance for the past year increased time spent inside. Many spent much of that time leading a sedentary lifestyle. Now that the temperature is warmer and the days are longer, it’s time to guide your child into moving around outside.

Warmer months mean people get outside more and have more options for outdoor exercise. Many adolescents and young adults who struggle with an addiction to alcohol and drugs find that their physical health has suffered, too. Regular exercise can help them improve their physical health. Exercise also establishes a healthy routine that can help replace previous, unhealthy habits.

If your child is prone to passing the time by staring at screens, exercise becomes even more vital. Take advantage of warmer temperatures and fresh air to give your child a memorable summer. Often it just takes a trip or two outside to remind them of the joys of sunny days and moving their bodies.

Group Activities Flourish In the Summertime

Look for group activities that emphasize being physical. Team sports such as soccer and baseball provide a great way to get some exercise. Check neighborhood organizations and community listings for summer teams that are forming. You can also talk to other parents for suggestions on what activities their kids enjoy.

Activities that don’t feature an actual sport can still provide needed movement for a child. Camping provides an opportunity for hiking, setting up camp, and building muscles while carrying equipment. Young peer groups that go camping together experience multiple benefits. They engage in exercise, problem-solve as a team, and enjoy relaxing time around a fire or gazing up at the stars.

Membership to a local swimming pool can help your child be among others while they enjoy regular swim sessions. A family membership can help the entire family enjoy time together splashing around.

Volunteer work that involves being physical also provides a child a chance to get some exercise. Seek out groups that build housing for those in need or require volunteers to help exercise dogs at a shelter. Doing a good deed while working on their physical self can do wonders for a child.

Exercising Solo Helps Get Your Child Moving

Your child can also enjoy the sunshine and fresh air with solo activities. Riding a bicycle, skateboarding, and inline skating can give a child an opportunity to move around outside. Track and field events also provide the ability to get their heart rates up. Encourage your child to consider solo exercise-related hobbies that get them moving.

Exercise Can Help Manage Mental Health

Many young people who have a substance use disorder also cope with co-occurring disorders. These include mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and other conditions. Exercise can also do wonders for mental health by reducing levels of anxiety and elevating positive moods.

Establishing a habit of engaging in regular exercise can offer the one-two punch that kids need. Their new exercise routines can help them stay on the recovery path and manage their mental health. Addressing both issues provides a young person with a way to feel empowered and healthier.

If Your Child Is Hesitant to Join a Group or Team

A child who might have spent a lot of time isolating due to their addiction may be wary of becoming social again. Being part of a group working together as a team can offer benefits. Forming friendships and developing bonds with other members of their age group can have lasting effects.

Talk to your child about any hesitancy they may feel about becoming more social this summer. Assure them that many kids may be nervous at first when they become part of a new group. Your child may have attended a residential treatment program in the past. If so, remind them of how they likely felt unsure of that in the beginning. They likely shifted to occupying a comfort zone reasonably quickly.

Similar to adolescents grouped together in a treatment program, summer activities can help bond them. The members all work towards making good use of free time and socialization. Everyone wants to end the summer with good memories of the fun they had and new friends they made. This sort of experience can help a young person focus on maintaining their sobriety.

Planning For Staying Safe This Summer

Each community and activity will have its own rules for social distancing. You can check around to see what each activity requires and then determine your comfort level with your child participating in a group or program.

Pandemic restrictions on movement meant many people have missed out on getting outside to enjoy some exercise. Now that society is starting to reopen and summer is almost here, it’s a whole new ballgame. If your child who copes with a substance use disorder is coming off months of lethargy and staying indoors, you can help them get excited about getting outdoors again. Exercise opportunities include group and solo sports, outside hobbies, and volunteer work. These can benefit their physical and mental health. Sustain Recovery offers well-rounded, long-term programs that help young people embrace recovery. We treat co-occurring mental health disorders and prepare your child for rejoining the family in a healthier mind and body. Our sunny Southern California location offers programs that help kids who may not have responded well to other treatment plans. Call us now at (949) 407-9052 to discuss how we can help bring your child back to an active life.