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Fun July 4th Activities for the Entire Family

It’s the hottest (often literally!) holiday of the entire summer, and one most of us look forward to all year long. July 4th celebrates the birthday of the United States of America, and the most common form of celebration is the community picnic with fireworks. It’s great to spend time with your friends and family, and everyone enjoys a day off, but don’t let the holiday celebration plop your bottom into a lawn chair for the day.

Instead, why not take part in some of these fantastic activities that the entire family, from kids to grandparents, can join in on? As a bonus, we’ve included the calorie counts of some popular picnic foods so you can see if that Firecracker popsicle is really worth it! (hint: it’s a good choice!)

Hiking: A great activity that the entire family can do together, hiking is a fun choice because it allows you to see the area you are in, which is a bonus if you are visiting.

Half an hour of hiking burns about 160 calories – just enough to burn off 1/2 cup (one scoop) of potato salad.

Bike Parades: Long a holiday tradition in many small towns, bike parades involve decorating your bike with streamers, balloons and signs and riding around. Think outside the box: can you decorate a bike trailer or attach streamers to Grandma’s three wheel bike?

Slow biking for just 15 minutes will burn approximately 100 calories – the exact number of calories in the ubiquitous Firecracker popsicle so popular in the summer!

Tag/Hide ‘n Seek: Both games involve running and getting the heart rate elevated in a fun, non stressful manner. They make getting your sweat on a great competitive activity, especially if you divide teams long family lines. Playing tag burns about 50 calories an hour -about 1/6 of a typical picnic hamburger (or about a bite or two- which isn’t much. Try these lower calorie, healthier turkey burgers to still get your fix.)

Basketball: A pick-up game of hoops can be a great calorie burner, as you burn more than 380 calories per half hour of intense ball skills.  Eating a hot dog with a bun adds about 320 calories to your daily intake, so feel free to pair up hoops and hot dogs!

Beach Frisbee: Frisbee is a fun game that doesn’t require a lot of skill, so it’s a great activity to include the entire family – even the dog! Playing on the beach means extra resistance in the sand, which translates to more work on the body. For an incredibly high calorie burn, check out Ultimate Frisbee, an exciting game that involves many aspects of rugby and uses a frisbee. Ultimate burns more than 500 calories, equal to a large ice cream waffle cone, and beach frisbee burns close to 120 calories, equal to a half can of soda.

With just a little work, your July 4th holiday doesn’t have to end up growing your waist and can instead be a time of family fun that creates a multitude of memories that will last a lifetime!

Calorie computations are approximate and determined from information found at livestrong.com and caloriecount.about.com and computed on a 150 lb person.

View 10 Healthier 4th of July Recipes Slideshow

June 28th, 2011

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