Print Tricia Schmit, M.D.

I am so excited to see nice weather in the forecast, not only because I felt the cold had stuck around a little longer than I was expecting, but also because my boys were going a little stir-crazy and need to be outside!

Lately we’ve been geocaching and we are excited to get started with exploring some new places with the Nebraska Great Park Pursuit. Both are great ways to get outside with your family and get some exercise in a not-so-”exercisy” way.

Geocaching involves getting a location with GPS coordinates and hunting for the cache (we just call it “treasure” at my house).  Nowadays, many smart phones can utilize an app to do this, but you could do it the old-fashioned way with a compass.  There are literally geocaches all over the globe! (Check out this site: www.geocaching.com)

The Nebraska Great Park Pursuit has a list of locations around the state to visit (find info about it at http://negpp.org/).  Your goal is to follow the clues, find a post they’ve placed with a nature impression on it, and get a rubbing to prove you’d been there.   Once you accumulate some rubbings, you can mail them in at the end of the summer and have a chance to win prizes!

My kids don’t like it if I say we are “going on a walk,” but if I lure them down a trail with the hopes of finding a hidden treasure, they get excited!  Plus, we are getting some physical activity vs just playing video games, etc.  This is more and more important for all of us since only 6-20% of kids get the recommended 60 minutes of activity a day and 20-40% of kids are overweight.  If kids learn healthy activity habits early, they are more likely to continue to practice them.  This will hopefully lead to healthy lifestyles as they grow into adults.

Don’t forget the following while out hiking/exploring:

  1. Water bottles—my boys run around till they are sweaty and flushed nearly every time they are outside, we try to keep the water bottles handy so they can stay hydrated (otherwise they get whiny and have headaches.) 
  2. Snacks—(I like to try to make sure I have easy, portable, healthy snacks in the fridge so we can grab them to stock a little cooler as we head out the door.)  My kids especially love the squeezy applesauce pouches, frozen grapes (they taste like mini popsicles!), clementines (so easy for the kids to peel), carrots, string cheese, almonds, even beef jerky.  I like to carry a variety so they have a mix of carbs, fat and protein to tide them over for longer. 

Pack up the kids and the dog, hit the road and venture out to find “X marks the spot” while getting some quality, healthy family time.



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