Being Active Can Be Fun

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By Tracey Matthews Wynter, Supervisor of the Knox County Schools Family and Community Engagement Department

Did you know the brain is a muscle? Well, it is…and no different than any of your other muscles: you must use it before you lose it. In need of some advice to help you and your students put the brain to use this summer? Get active! Exercise is not only important for physical health, but it can help keep the brain sharp as well. Anything that is good for the heart, is great for the brain. Knoxville has plenty of places to and activities to try to put both the body and the brain to work, so read on to hear about some of those, but also for some tips about how to get fit in your front yard, too!

All Work and No Play…

No one said you had to be as good as David Beckham or Serena Williams to enjoy sports, just go outside and play with your children. Summertime is a great time for family members to participate in some friendly competition in the outdoors. Sports like Frisbee, soccer, golf, croquet, flag football, and swimming are a great way for your little ones to release any energy that has built up during the school year and cooler months. Another great way to get fit with the family is to explore new sports together. Pick a sport that seems interesting, read books or articles regarding the origin and rules of game, maybe watch a game or match on TV, online, or in person, then try it out for yourself with friends and family!

These [Sneakers] Were Made for Walking

Summer evenings in Knoxville are amazing. To get to know your neighbors and their kids, you could start a walking club for the neighborhood. Map out a route, set a consistent day and time to meet, invite others to join, and start putting one foot in front of the other.

Go Take A Hike!

Literally! One of the greatest things about being in East Tennessee is all of the nature that surrounds us. National parks, nature trails, flowing rivers, and serene lakes all beckon. Consider taking your children out to explore.

I Spy

The age old game, “I Spy” is a great way to pull our eyes from the many screens we encounter each day. Step out the front door, sans any technology and play. The “spy” spots something and says, “I spy….” then describes the item using descriptive words while everyone else tries to be the first one to spot the selected item. Whoever spots it first becomes the next spy.

Bike Hike

Knoxville trails aren’t just for hiking! Many of the area greenways are smoothly paved and perfect for two (or three) wheels. Vehicles are typically prohibited from the areas as well, so they are safer than area sidewalks and parking lots. Grab your helmets, load up a picnic, and roll on into a good time!

Slow and Steady

Don’t think that all activity needs to be fast paced and sweat inducing! Try some slower moving activities like yoga or Tai Chi. Watch instructional videos online, if you do it on a laptop or your phone, you could even try it outside.

Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head

There’s no excuse to skip exercise on cold or rainy days. Watch exercise videos indoors or take  advantage of a local mall walking program to add variety and keep exercise going even in inclement weather.

Dance Fever

Everyone loves a good dance party. Whether you’re inside with family, visiting with friends, or enjoying a neighborhood BBQ, put on a little music and get those feet moving.

Happy Feet

1.Walking is one of the best forms of exercise. Research some of the area’s local attractions and see how many you can visit on foot. It shouldn’t be too hard downtown! Map out a route and get moving. It will be doubly beneficial because it will exercise the body and brain, as well as provide some educational incentives. Some initial ideas are: Gentle Barn, Ijams Nature Center, Knoxville Botanical Garden, Knoxville Museum of Art, McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture, Putt Putt Golf and Games, UT Gardens, and The Fruit and Berry Patch.

Talk to your family to decide which activities need to be on your Fun Family Fitness To-do List, set some personal and family fitness goals, and get active!

Please share your success stories, related tips, and topic suggestions for future articles by contacting Tracey Matthews Wynter, Knox County Schools Family and Community Engagement Department Supervisor, (865) 594-9525, For more information and resources available to Knox County Schools’ students and families, please visit us online at

Knox County Schools Family Resource Center’s


The Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee (CAC) Summer Food Service Program

Summer Food Service Program provides meals (breakfast, lunch, and snacks) to children at a variety of sites within Knox County to include recreation programs, summer schools, Boys and Girls Clubs, and other community youth groups. For locations and more information, call 865-546-3500.

For details and/or additional local resources, contact Tamekia Jackson, Knox County Schools Family Resource Center Director via email at or by phone at (865) 594-1192.

Tracey Matthews currently serves as Knox County Schools’ District-wide Family and Community Engagement Supervisor. In this position, Tracey has been entrusted with the responsibility to facilitate the district’s course toward building stronger and lasting partnerships between families, schools, and the community. For more information, please visit the Family and Community Engagement at

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