Do you find yourself or your family spending a lot more time on the sofa or in front of a screen during the winter months?
It is normal for all of us to want to hibernate and stay cozy when it’s cold outside, but we can’t forget to balance this with intentional movement.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that kids ages 6-17 get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity at least three times a week. For optimal physical, mental, and emotional health we shoot for 6 days (there is always that one “off” day where we need to give some grace).
This can be easy when the sun is shining and kids are playing in the neighborhood, when spring sports start up, pools are open, and even when there are fall leaves to jump in.
But, the recommendation for activity and opportunity to remain strong and healthy does not changes with the weather. The even larger problem we face this year is that our go to indoor winter activities like indoor playgrounds, trampoline parks, and bowling aren’t as accessible due to social distancing.
With the winter-like weather in full swing, now is the time to arm your family with some strategies to get and keep them moving! Here are some ideas we share with our clients and families in our to help them beat the winter exercise blues:
Take advantage of every warm or sunny day
Every chance you get to be outside on a sunny day in the winter, take advantage of it. Even if it’s just a short walk at lunch or stopping for a few minutes at a playground. Even if you have to bundle up in multiple layers to handle the cold. The movement is important and so is the vitamin D to pull you out of a winter slump.
Have a plan B
If you can’t get outside or a class you usually attend is canceled, be sure you have a plan B. Decide ahead of time what your other options are, because in the moment it can be easier to just opt out for the day. This could be a Youtube workout, a home program designed by your trainer, or a mini HIIT workout you found online.
Bundle up to enjoy winter weather
When we are lucky enough to have a snow day, get outside and enjoy it. Stomping through snow, sledding, snow ball fights, and building a snowman all count as healthy movement. Be sure to bundle up in layers so you last long enough to make it count!
Set up an obstacle course
Using what you have around the house, create an indoor obstacle course for a little friendly competition. Large boxes to crawl through, step stools to hop over, ropes to crawl under, skateboards to scoot on, furniture to climb, hula hoops to jump in, rolled up rugs to balance on . . . the list could go on and on. This activity is usually good for a lot of laughs too!
Have a dance party
This can be as simple as putting on a favorite song and dancing around the room. I’ve learned from my favorite kindergarten teacher that Go Noodle has great videos for younger kids to dance along with. A few dance breaks throughout the day can make a big difference!
Flow through some yoga poses
Yoga is a great way to move the body, stretch, strengthen, and bring focus into your life. Kids and adults both can benefit from flowing through some poses. There are a lot of free options on You Tube and even fun stories told through yoga for younger kids.
Get some basic exercise equipment
Spending a few dollars on an exercise ball, bands, balance board, or light dumbbells can go a long way in keeping your family active. Of course you can exercise without equipment doing things such as push ups, jumping jacks, or squats, a ball or band can provide variety and a little extra challenge we all need to stick to something.
A few more thoughts that might seem contradictory . . . first of all make it fun and for older kids that often means a competition. But also set the clear expectation that movement will be a part of your winter routine as a family so there are no surprises.
As always, being the example is the best way to influence your family. Stick to a exercise routine and move often throughout your day. If you have aches or pains that keep you on the couch or limit your ability to enjoy the above activities with your family, then get that taken care of as soon as possible.
Our Physical Therapists are expert movement specialists and can get you back to doing the activities you love – including playing with your family. They can also recommend modifications to activities or the best movement strategies for you based on your current limitations and your future goals.
Want to talk with an expert and see if they have a solution you are looking for? Click the link below to schedule a Free Discovery Visit (in person or virtual sessions available) to find out what the next best step is to move better.