Avoiding the “Summer Slide”
My two boys are going into Kindergarten and 2nd grade this upcoming September. After school ended in June, everyone kept talking about the “Summer Slide” and how to avoid it. While I’ve enrolled my oldest in an August program to help prevent this “Summer Slide” I still did a little digging to learn more about this term.
The “Summer Slide” is actually defined as a decline in a child’s reading ability and other academic skills that can occur over the summer months when school isn’t in session. Numerous studies show that kids who don’t read during summer vacation actually slip in their reading abilities by the time autumn rolls around.
Given that we all know how the beginning of the school year can go and the resistance you can see as kids try to get back into an academic structure, it took very little convincing for me to enroll both my boys in programs to make the transition into the fall easier on them (and me!).
Then I got to thinking, I see this same exact pattern with my clients and members. A lot of them travel for the whole summer, take long weekend trips, and just, in general, don’t exercise nearly as much as they do in the fall, winter, and spring seasons. This is the “Summer Slide:” Exercise Edition.
Getting back into your exercise routine in the fall can be just as stressful on the body as it is on the mind for kids returning to school. My kids are more academically driven in the school months, and more physically driven in the summer months. While I am more physically driven in the winter months, and more academically driven (lazy reading, or listening to podcasts poolside) in the summer months. The irony is not lost on me here!
This summer, avoid the slide for your kids with academics by encouraging them to do some reading with you. Avoid the slide of your fitness by joining them, or anyone for that matter, in some fun! This isn’t about a set and structured summer exercise regimen. You can ease up on the demands and pressures of meeting certain goals! This is about movement and retaining some muscle memory and cardiovascular ability so when you DO return to that structure in the fall, you are not a victim of the”Summer Slide!”
Keep fitness as a part of your summer plans. Be active! Your body just wants to move! Now is the time to ride a bike, swim a few extra laps, play some frisbee, take a walk, or go all Top Gun and get a bunch of friends together for some good old beach volleyball! Hit the gym once or twice a week too! The bottom line is that when you are planning all of your summer activities for you and your family….include plans to keep yourselves active!
– Sarah C., Exercise Physiologist at Dedham Health & Athletic Complex