I love to use my nephews as inspiration for my blog posts. During our holiday celebration, I was pleasantly surprised to hear my six year old nephew say, “Aunt Amy, can we please go on a walk?” What a cool thing to hear a child say! We bundled up and took a walk around the block. As we were walking, he told me about the fun games he plays in gym class. He said he could feel his back and leg muscles working hard while he was walking. (After a 3 hour trip in the car, I was rejoicing about the same thing!) This handsome little boy knows that physical activity can be fun – even in the winter! Hooray!
Many people find it difficult to fit physical activity into their day during the winter months. Some people who enjoy being physically active outside when it is warm find it challenging to identify activities that they can do indoors to get their muscles moving and their heart pumping. There are plenty of things we can do in our homes or work places to get physical activity during the winter.
- If your office building has stairs, reserve at least 10 minutes of your lunch break for a few trips up and down the stairs. Aim to do another 10 minutes after the workday is done. You can take extra trips up and down the stairs in your home.
- See if any local businesses have walking groups that take laps around the hallways in their office building during lunch or after work. Get some co-workers together and start a group at your workplace.
- Try some of these activities using your office chair or a chair at home.
- Visit the library for different fitness videos or DVDs that you can borrow each week.
- When at the grocery store, take a few extra laps around the store before shopping.
- Check with a fitness or community center to see if they will let you pay for only the months or classes you want instead of the whole year.
- Try some of these muscle strengthening activities at home.
- Stand or stretch while watching TV or using the computer.
The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week (or about 30 minutes of activity on 5 days of the week). I recently viewed a presentation that put this amount of activity into a very interesting perspective. Instead of thinking of fitting 30 minutes of activity into each day, think of it as limiting sitting and laying down to 23.5 hours per day (or less). Viewing it this way, we have about 23.5 hours (or less) in each day to do whatever we want—work, sleep, eat, watch TV, play on the computer, etc.—and at least 30 minutes for physical activity.
The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend children and adolescents get 60 minutes more of physical activity each day. For young people, it is important to have physical activities that are enjoyable and appropriate for their age. You may end up doing a different activity each day, but take that time to enjoy the variety and learning about the different activities your kids enjoy! Here are a few ideas of activities to enjoy with your kids during the winter:
- Act out a story while reading it instead of sitting to read it.
- Have a dance off. See who can create the wildest or funniest dance moves.
- Go sledding, take a walk, build a snowman, build a fort, make a maze or obstacle course in the snow, or try to catch snowflakes as they fall.
- Have a scavenger hunt indoors.
- Make a bean bag toss using paper bags, gift bags, milk jugs with the top cut off, or hula hoops.
- Blow up a balloon and see how long you can keep it in the air.
- Play charades and act out various sport movements.
- Jump rope in the garage.
- See what types of fitness apps are available for kids. (My nephew also loved following along a fitness app with me!)