Ways to Keep Active During the Winter Break

We all know that staying active is one of the best things we can do for ourselves and our families.  But, once the cold weather settles in, it becomes tempting to curl up on the sofa with a warm blanket, a cup of hot chocolate and our new favorite TV series.  We may even realize we’ve gone days without getting any meaningful physical activity (walking back and forth to the refrigerator doesn’t count).   With winter break upon us, let’s think about how we can turn this unhealthy habit into a healthy habit for our families and ourselves.   Here are a few ideas to begin with:

Start and end with a stretch.  Take ten minutes when you first get up in the morning to do some stretching exercises and repeat before going to bed.

Be creative with indoor activities.  Try indoor hopscotch using painter’s tape to make the squares.  Get the kids involved in making an indoor “workout circuit” using household items such as a low step stool or pillows to jump over. 

Get moving with games.  Play active games.  Have a dance competition with prizes for the most creative, cutest or long-lasting dance.  Play charades or Simon Says.  For board games, add exercises for certain moves.

Breathe some fresh air.   Take a brisk walk down the street, around the block, or even around the house a few times.  Play in the snow with the kids.  Take the dog for several quick walks a day.  Take advantage of the sunny days to help improve your mood and get some Vitamin D.  If possible, take a day to go sledding, build a snowman or some other outdoor winter activity.

Change it up.  A few days a week get some muscle-building activities such as lifting weights (water bottles or soup cans can be used) or use resistance bands.  By switching up activities, we can get the full benefit of physical activities and keep it interesting.

Aim for 30.  30 minutes most days of the week is the minimum recommended amount of physical activity for adults, while children need 60 minutes per day.  Try to get at least 10 minutes at a time.

Keep it fun!  Whether remembering and recreating the activities we enjoyed as children or trying something new, we can keep it adventurous and exciting.  We can think of this as a gift we give ourselves and our families, not just during winter break, but one that keeps on giving.

Resources:  ChooseMyPlate.gov  

Plate My Wins Tips:  An Active Lifestyle 

Action for Healthy Kids.org  

Stay Active During Winter Break                                                                                                           

heart.org -How to Stay Active in Cold Weather

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