Don’t fret over broken weight-loss resolutions. It’s cold out there! Bundling up inside seems way better than scraping ice off your car before a frigid drive to the gym. If you can resonate with this, just know that you’re not alone—and it’s definitely not too late to get back on track!
Indoor, at-home workouts can be just as effective (if not more) than a typical gym session. Plus, if your kiddos are experiencing cabin fever, they’ll enjoy joining in on the fitness fun!
Winter doesn’t have to be filled with miserable, humdrum months of crabby kids waiting for the thaw to go outside. Instead, focus on fun family activities so you can get fit together!
Side note: It’s not just about finding your kids something to do, since almost one-third of children ages 10-17 are overweight or obese, it’s also about establishing healthy habits that kids can take with them into adulthood.
The key to getting your children off the couch and on to some active adventures is getting them engaged. Children like to emulate what adults do, including having a say in what goes on around them.
So how can you keep your kids engaged, moving and entertained during the long winter months? The answer lies within this creative activity:
The Pick-a-Stick Activity Jar
A Google search will reveal countless ice pop stick exercise ideas that keep workouts varied and fresh. This variation is perfect for kids because it gives them a craft project and multiple chances to mix and match it with exercise fun.
First, have the kids help paint groups of sticks in different colors. Once dry, use markers to label each stick with a separate activity. After they’re done, stick them in a cup or jar and let the kids pick where the day’s adventure will lead.
Create four categories: mix-and-match individual exercises (think jumping jacks or walking lunges), physical indoor games, workout routines and destination active adventures (have a “get out of the house” back up for those extremely stir crazy moments). The color-coding lets you guide your kids to the right grouping for the kind of activity and time frame you are looking to fill.
- Individual exercise sticks will give you a chance to jot down simple, kid-friendly exercises like leap frogs, crab walks, calf raises, arm circles, planks, toe touches and high knees. Kids can take turns picking the exercises until they have 15-30 minutes or even an hour of active fun. You can also use these as quick movement breaks during commercials while watching TV or while waiting for dinner.
- Physical indoor game sticks are a great way to get the kids moving and fill the air with giggles while you do it. Use your sticks to list activities like wheelbarrow races, stretching Olympics, musical chairs, jumping contest, balloon volleyball game, trashcan basketball, “what animal am I” charades, the floor is lava obstacle course and freeze dance.
- Workout routines are great because they come readymade. Many parents aren’t workout gurus, so making a routine for you and your children to follow can feel like a daunting task. Luckily, there are numerous workout DVDs and YouTube videos featuring just about any type of exercise you can think of, and many are geared toward kids. Yoga, Pilates, tai chi, Zumba and dance, CrossFit and circuit training are just a few of the options you can pick to get started.
- Destination active adventures are a perfect contingency plan because let’s face it, there are times when the kids will be climbing the walls and for both your sanity and theirs it’s safer to get out of the house and into a change of scenery. But this doesn’t have to break the bank.
Local YMCAs have swimming, basketball courts, tennis and gyms available. Don’t forget your local kid-friendly hot spots like trampoline parks, rock climbing gyms, bowling alleys and skating rinks. (Tip: Check out websites or Facebook pages for discounts and deals. It’s likely that many local businesses will offer weekly discount nights and special events.)
When finished, place the sticks in a pretty, decorated jar or cup. The set-up portion of this activity will allow your kids to create specialized exercises that can be easily fit into any time block, including short time fillers or afternoon affairs. The great thing about the pick-a-stick activity jar is that it’s exercise disguised as a fun game and when they (or you) get bored with an activity, just remove the stick and add some more.
This way you can always cycle through them and mix it up so that the family stays engaged; while your kids stay fit and healthy.