Summer family fitness
Family fitness starts with you as parents. Children learn by example, and making exercise and healthy eating a normal part of family life will encourage them to adopt these habits for life
The key is not to push too hard, and not to deprive your kids of all their favourite treats: it's all about getting the balance right.
Be food wise
During the summer months, look out for bargains on British fresh fruit and veg, or visit a pick-your-own farm for some great-value choices. Strawberries, raspberries, apricots, peaches, nectarines and plums are all wonderfully sweet when grown in season, and most are fleshy enough to satisfy as a snack or part of a picnic.
You could try whizzing a couple of different fruits up with some ice-cold milk for a super smoothie; or prepare a big fresh-fruit salad that will last for a few days at a time.
Salad vegetables like radishes, beetroot, succulent tomatoes, red onions, carrots, watercress and rocket can make mouthwatering meals when you add a chopped egg, a few olives, a handful of steamed new potatoes, a couple of anchovies and a little tinned tuna.
Or ring the changes and substitute chicken for the tuna and a few sundried tomatoes or mushrooms for the anchovies.
Enjoy fit family fun
There are lots of different ways you can get exercise as a family without making it a chore. What about taking a rowing boat out if you have a lake nearby? Or hiring some bikes if you don't have your own, and riding around a large park?
Tennis courts, crazy golf, pitch and putt and swimming are all low-cost or even free pursuits you can probably find in your area.
How about buying a long skipping rope and reviving all those old playground games from when you were a child? Do you have a Wii with Wii Fit? There are lots of choices of activity on offer if you do.
Fitness doesn't have to be all about pounding the streets in running gear or thrashing around on a squash court: family exercise should major on fun if your children are going to include it as part of their routine later in life.
More fun for the kids
Making sure your children are happily occupied is one of the challenges all parents face during the long school summer holiday, so here are a few ideas to help you keep them entertained and healthy at the same time:
Set up an obstacle course in the garden: perhaps you've got an expanding play tunnel and/or play tent, or maybe you could set up some hopscotch? Do you have a basketball hoop? Is your garden long enough to race against each other? All of these ideas could feature.
Make up an obstacle-free course: give your child a sequence to complete, such as a handstand; 10 star jumps; running on the spot really fast for one minute; hopping halfway up the garden; bunny hopping back again, and so on. Record the time it takes, then encourage him to try to beat his own time.
Make up some ball games, such as throwing and catching in a group: each person calls another's name and throws the ball to them so everyone has to stay on the alert. To make it harder, give everyone a code name to remember.