THE OUTDOOR ADVANTAGE
Are you tired of the office or the stuffy air in your home? Get out, get dirty and get having some real fun with your spouse, child or that someone you love. You may be like the movie character Adam Mitchell, training for a 5k run. Or, you may just want to get in better shape so that you too can have fun on the playground with the kids. Exercising outdoors may take some courage. Identify the obstacles you’ll need to overcome, pray about how you can take leadership then plan the time and go for it. If you don’t get outdoors much it may at first be a bit foreign to you and the family. The benefits are huge. Prepare to be refreshed and renewed in your body, mental processes and your spirit. Getting active outdoors is an incredible way to have family fellowship and to build character.

COURAGEOUS Men’s Fitness happens when you choose to have an active lifestyle with your spouse, child or the one you love. I’m Jason Rhymer, the Training Department editor for Faith & Fitness Magazine. I’m here to help you with fitness ideas and inspiration so you can have the courage to be the totally fit man that God wants you to be.

WHERE TO GO AND WHAT TO DO
The outdoors is a big place. But, that doesn’t have to be a big problem when deciding where to go and what to do. NEAR WHERE YOU LIVE is where you will often get active. However, don’t make it the only place you go. If you are in an urban area you can plan trips to the wilderness. If you live in a more rural area you’ll find the cities can provide unique outdoor adventure. Have the courage to make it a multi-generational experience too. Wherever you go, whatever your age, men’s fitness in the great outdoors is an incredible way to build strong bonds.
Parks – There are likely all kinds of parks close to where you live. Find a favorite but remember that you and your children will enjoy exploring a variety of locations. Playground equipment in city parks has made incredible advances. You’ll still find swings and monkey bars. Today though, equipment and entire playground spaces are designed with a greater focus on fitness and interaction. With a little planning you can focus on exercise and create fun play. State parks provide scenic trails for hiking, running, exploring, biking, horseback riding and more. From pools to streams and rivers, water areas give you space to splash and get active with children for hours. National parks are real treasures. These areas are preserved for a reason. They have significant physical, geographical and historical value. Beyond these traditional parks there are amusement parks, skate parks, game/hunting parks, sports parks and motorcross parks. You decide how active you want to be. Start tame and progress to adventurous. Summer workouts outdoors at a park are a great way to spend time with your child and family.
Measure fun by the YARD – Not everyone has a yard. If you do, you may not be using it as well as you could. There are any number of ways you can get active at home in your yard or your neighbor/family/community yard. From horseshoes to paintball and trampolines to hula-hoops all you really need is a child that wants to have some fun. Add some healthy snacks and keep hydrated to fuel a few minutes up to hours of family time. Create and maintain a garden in your yard and your children can pick raw food for the ultimate in fresh snacks. Participating in a community garden has the added benefit of character building and social interaction. Don’t forget – you don’t have to be a one-man show. Invite the neighbors, children, youth or families from your church or your child’s sports team. Be the king of your yard and make it the ultimate destination. Yards take a certain amount of care. Have your children join you in the yard work.

Your community and being other minded – Help your children discover that God gave them strong bodies to help others. Some church groups organize community improvement initiatives or adopt individuals or families that need yard care or a home improvement. If your church doesn’t do that yet, then be the courageous dad and take initiative. You and your child can positively impact someone’s life. Ultimately public roadways, parks and waterways need care. You can demonstrate personal stewardship and improve the environment in your area.

EXERCISE WITH YOUR CHILD AT ANY AGE
ELMO PUSHUPS – Training With Infants And Toddlers (5 years old and younger) LEGO LUNGES – Training With Children (Ages 6 to 11) CELL PHONES AND CAR KEYS – Training With Older Kids And Teenagers. Learn about all of the stages of family fitness.

MORE THAN FRESH AIR
Exercising outdoors gives you and your child many healthy benefits. While extended exposure to the sun can have health risks there is also evidence that the sun provides natural health benefits. Getting dirty and getting sweaty are part of the human experience. Too often we stay too clean. While it is important to encourage your child to have good hygiene, they need to discover living. There is research that shows that being excessively sanitized can weaken our immune system. Being outdoors also lets you experience the wonders of the natural world. From insects, to animals to the broad environmental expression of a living earth, you need to discover the broader space where your body and spirit reside.
COURAGEOUS MEN OUTDOORS
Tell your story! CONTACT US and briefly describe how you get active in the great outdoors. As a registered user you can also share how you exercise with kids outdoors by using the ADD NEW COMMENT link below and posting your own experience now.

Ben Speicher, Summit Adventure Instructor, California - Imagine awaking in a sleeping bag on a ridge overlooking a forested valley. Your daughter is in a sleeping bag beside you. The sun is rising behind a crest, its rays lighting the sky on fire in glowing pink and orange. Nearby lie your backpacks, in which you have carried everything you needed for the past 5 days. This is where God brought my daughter and me to do powerful things in our lives. This is Summit Adventure. Whether it’s a father/child course, a Mt. Rainier summit attempt or a week of serving and climbing in Ecuador, Summit Adventure is about connecting people to God through adventure and service.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brenden McGlinchey - To be honest I don’t do nearly as much exercise as I’d like. It all comes down to priorities. There are seasons that lend themselves to more training than others. We established that it would be a goal for our family and dedicated some time to it. One of the most rewarding activities has been playing sports with my kids. Don’t be a spectator. Actively participate. My kids absolutely love it when I get out in the yard and practice sports with them. Another fun activity is to have your kids do bootcamp activities with you. I have had the opportunity to encourage them as they try new things, experience competition, explore teamwork, and push themselves to discover their God-given abilities. We consistently refer to Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”

 

 

Tim Whitmire, leader of F³, North Carolina - I wasn’t much of an athlete as a kid and grew up without a strong male presence for much of my childhood. So, leading F³, a men’s workout group, has given me the chance to involve my oldest son, Alex in my fitness. I want him to see that staying in shape is an important part of my life. I want him to see that a hard workout that tests me to my limits is a necessary part of my existence. I want him to see that equally important to me are the camaraderie, fellowship and friendly competition I enjoy with my brothers in the F³ Nation. If you’re like me, parenting is an exercise in near-constant second-guessing. But, he gets it. That gives me the confidence that there is at least one thing I’m doing right.
 
 
 
 
 
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