Summer Fitness

For Kids Playing Outdoors, a Heat Advisory

Remember: hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

By Catherine Matusow June 2, 2014 Published in the June 2014 issue of Houstonia Magazine

Image: Shutterstock

Kids like to play hard, are undeterred by doing so under a beating sun, and commonly forget to stay hydrated—three things that make them particularly vulnerable to heat illness. And unfortunately, “children don’t have the compensatory ability to cool themselves rapidly,” explained Dr. Jeffrey Kalina of Houston Methodist Hospital. “They don’t have the skin surface area to cool themselves.” 

Of course, nobody wants their kids stuck inside in front of their computers, so savvy parents keep their children’s summers busy with indoor activities. A classic, of course, is gymnastics, and there are great tumbling gyms throughout the city: the Gymnast Factory in Rice Village, Discovery Gymnastics in the Heights, and Westwood Gymnastics in Katy. There are also a few straight-up gyms for kids. At Great Play, which has locations in Sugar Land and Cypress, kids play games meant to increase fitness, coordination, and motor skills. Meanwhile, at My Gym of Katy and My Gym of The Woodlands, the older kiddos take actual cardio classes, complete with strength and flexibility exercises. 

Some kids may want to seek out activities that are less … adult-like. One option is to release them at the Galleria ice rink or the one at Memorial City Mall. Or let them exhaust themselves by bouncing, at Jumping World Indoor Trampoline Park—locations in northwest Houston, Pasadena, and League City—where young patrons hop through a seemingly endless wall-to-wall trampoline. Wonderwild in The Heights and The Woodlands offers indoor playgrounds complete with jumping pillows and huge Crocodile Slides. 

Hopefully, there will be days this summer when they can play outside without melting. That’s what kids do, and we wouldn’t want to take that away from them. You can bring them to a pool or a park with water features, of course. But if they insist—as children always have—upon racing around under the boiling sun, remember: hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. And: sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen. 

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