As the temperature drops outside, it can be hard to find ways to stay active, especially with children. But cold weather doesn’t have to mean reduced physical activity. Regular physical activity in childhood and adolescence has numerous benefits including:
- Building and maintaining healthy bones and muscles
- Reducing the risk of developing obesity and chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and colon cancer
- Promoting psychological well-being and reducing feelings of depression and anxiety
- Helping improve students’ performance in school, including
- Academic achievement and grades
- Behavior, such as time on task
- Factors that influence academic achievement such as concentration and attentiveness in the classroom
Here are some fun ways to stay active this winter:
- Play Outside: Round up those scarves, hats and gloves and play outside. You may not be able to stay out as long, but there are a variety of fun activities to do outside when it’s cold, including simply taking a walk or bike ride, playing sports in the backyard, and (if we get enough snow) going ice skating or sledding, or having a snowball fight!
- Dance: Turn up the music and dance freestyle. This is a fun activity for the whole family to do indoors after dinner or just whenever you feel the urge to move.
- Play Balloon Volleyball: Get a balloon and go to town with a less-breakable, indoor version of volleyball.
- Turn off the TV: Set a time limit for how much television you and/or your kids will watch and turn it off when the time is up. You can also get up during commercial breaks and have races to see who can do the most jumping jacks, squats, sit-ups, push-ups or other activity.
- Invite friends over: Let your child invite a friend or two over, but set the rules so they can’t use the TV, computer or other electronic device. This will get them moving.
- Take a field trip: Play laser tag or go bowling. Visit an indoor batting cage, skating rink or swimming pool. Check out your local YMCA or community gym and see what they have to offer.