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Family Exercise in the Winter

You’re not imagining it. As the days grow shorter and the air cooler, the kids are getting restless and you may be too. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), kids need at least 1 hour of physical activity…every day. Adults should be partaking in either 2.5 hours of exercise at a moderate level OR 1.25 hours of vigorous exercise per week, minimum. Don’t let this cold season give you an excuse to skip the physical exercise and crawl back under your cozy covers. Here are some fun ways to incorporate movement and physical activity through the winter months for the whole family.

INDOOR EXERCISE

-Resistance Training- Bodyweight exercises are a great way to improve balance, flexibility, and strength without any bulky equipment. With a simple Google search, you can EASILY uncover a variety of exercises using the resistance of body weight alone.

-Boxing- Get your heart pumping with a simple boxing routine. Boxing provides a full-body workout, ducking, blocking, and throwing punches. Focus on your footwork for a cardio heavy conditioning workout that’ll get you sweating.

-Play Games- Purchase your family some soft nerf balls and start a game of indoor dodgeball. Try setting up an indoor basketball hoop for fun way to start laundry day. Consider dance parties in the kitchen while putting away dishes. Use commercial breaks to challenge each other to dance contests or during study breaks from online schooling. Try making a hopscotch or obstacle course with painters tape. Get creative and have fun with it!Get creative and have fun with it!

-Family Mindfulness- Competitive activities teach children to master their bodies, and often this can lean hard into focusing on their weaknesses. And while activity and goal setting are imperative to growth, we need to remember to teach our children to be content with themselves in a noncompetitive and appreciative way as well. Activities like Tai Chi, Yoga, or Meditation can help children feel at one with their bodies, teaching them to respect their physical and emotional selves.

SEEK OUT RECREATIONAL FACILITIES

Ready to get out of the house but not into the cold? No worries, we have exercises for you too.

-Swimming- It’s never the wrong time to go swimming. Swimming is a phenomenal physical activity for so many reasons. Firstly, swimming is an age-friendly activity. Being immersed in water provides low-impact therapy for injury rehabilitation or physically limiting conditions. Because swimming involves endurance it is also a great way to keep muscles toned, including those supporting the heart and lungs. Swimming is a full-body workout that is known to improve flexibility, coordination, balance, and posture all the while alleviating stress. Need we say more?

-Rock Climbing- The benefits of climbing are vast as well. Climbing combines mental stimulation and physical power beautifully to burn over 600 calories per hour. Not only does climbing involve the arm muscles used for gripping and pulling, but this sport will also activate legs, back, and shoulder muscles as well. The balance and finesse of this sport work the core to stabilize movements, leading to a stronger and less injury-prone body. Finding an indoor rock wall could be the winter workout you have been looking for.

-Bowling / Trampoline Park- Even with these quarantine guidelines in place and the pandemic following us into the winter, bowling alleys and trampoline parks are beginning to open back up with new safety guidelines in place. On top of the muscle-building motion of the arms and legs with these activities, they also require attention to detail for successful performance. Both of these activities are great for building hand-eye coordination.

OUTDOOR EXERCISE

Moving around outside can get your heart rate up and keep you warm, but if that isn’t enough consider a warm-up exercise routine for inside before you brave the cold. Remember to dress in long layers, wear boots instead of gym shoes, wear a hat, gloves, and don’t forget warm socks.

Try encouraging your kids to get outside. Consider a walk with the dog, visiting a new park, playing basketball, soccer, or even a good old game of frisbee. Skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing are great, but obviously only if you have the snow, equipment, and knowledge. Consider seeking out a local ice rink. Ice skating isn’t just for kids. In fact at a moderate pace simply skating laps can burn up to 500 calories per hour while toning your legs, butt, and similar core stabilizing muscles as rock climbing for fine movements and balance. If ice skating sounds too cold for you, consider bundling up and going for a bike ride. Because of its cardio-heavy nature and use of the quadricep muscles biking will warm your body quickly.

Scheduling the proper time for these activities for you and your family is crucial. Often kids have a lot of energy just after they have just finished school for the day, this is an optimal time to introduce rousing new adventures. Also keep in mind that positive reinforcement is the best way to form new healthy habits, both for you and your kids. Keep the dialogue light and encouraging as you discover these exciting wintertime activities together. While picking up new activities can seem like a large undertaking, you are potentially investing in new lifelong passions. And who knows, you might even end up with a workout you’ll want to do all year long.

Start small and remember to reach out to me if you need any advice.

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