Summer family fun

Even if you work through the summer, longer days and warmer weather entice you into a vacation frame of mind. Regardless of your age, you can't help but anticipate fun in the sun and the promise of a few months of carefree living.

For parents, though, the summer season might be met with trepidation. Trying to work, stay fit and keep kids active during summer break can be challenging, without the structure of a school day and the schedule you've spent the last nine months perfecting.

"School recess isn't enough," says Christina Parmley, national activities director for Life Time, the Healthy Way of Life Company. "Parents are struggling to make sure their kids get access to the physical activity they need to grow up healthy. At Life Time we're striving to help children learn how to make healthy choices. We provide access to physical education and include the role nutrition plays in growing up healthy."

That's exactly the sort of message Karen Schupp, a Life Time Fitness member in Chanhassen, Minn., wants her children to hear. "As a busy mom of two I rely on the child center to help me get my workouts in, but it's also important to me that my kids grow up active," she says. "My kids don't complain about going, either. This is not about what mom wants to do. We all want to go."

Schupp's children will attend Life Time Kids Summer Camp this year. "I'm thrilled with everything that's offered. The themes are fun for the kids and the program is so dynamic. We're all excited about it."

Those camps include 12 signature, kid-approved themes each week. "They tie fitness and nutrition together so kids are staying active all day, while learning different nutrition concepts each week through games and other fun activities," Parmley says.

For example, during Gross & Gooey Science week, campers will learn how the human body functions and the critical role protein plays in muscle development and bone strength and which protein choices are the best to make at home and school. During Super Buffet week, campers will learn about making better food options and travel to a local farm, tour a grocery store or focus on nutrition labels.

"Sharing physical activities under one roof with your family isn't just a good way to get your heart pumping and burn calories. It's also a great way to build family bonds," says Luis Lugo, of Berkeley Heights, N.J. "When you make fitness a fun part of kids' everyday lives, they'll be more likely to exercise when they're grown. That's your greatest gift to them."