Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital
In many ways, physical activity is a child’s best friend. It’s good for them — and it can be a whole lot of fun. But physical activity shouldn’t be a fair-weather friend. Even in the colder months, kids need to keep moving.
Luckily, there are still plenty of opportunities for kids to stay happily active, both indoors and outdoors, all winter long.
Make it a regular thing
The amount of physical activity kids need varies by age, but most experts agree kids six and up should aim to be active for at least 60 minutes a day. That activity doesn’t have to come all at once. It can be broken into smaller bits scattered throughout the day.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), staying active may help kids: have a healthy weight; ; sleep better; focus in school; cope with stress; and have better self-esteem.
Bring on the winter fun
Kids may not be able to go for a bike ride or swim in the winter, yet there are other ways to help them burn off energy and get some exercise. For instance, they can:
Try a winter scavenger hunt
Taking nature walks with your kids can be a good option as long as sidewalks or paths are bare. Search for winter treasures like pine cones, winter berries, bird nests and animal tracks.
Visit a park
Kids can bundle up and play tag or other games that keep them running, jumping and skipping.
Have a dance party
Turn on some tunes and dance with your kids. Or let them host a virtual dance contest with friends over video chat.
Set up an obstacle course where your child can run and jump over pillows or crawl under tables. Or play indoor versions of hide-and-seek, tag or tug-of-war.
Make the most of TV time
During commercials or between episodes, challenge kids to a laundry folding race or a sit-up contest.
Lead by example
Perhaps the most important practice you can follow to keep your kids active is to set a good example by enjoying a wide variety of activities yourself. When your kids see you taking walks, exercising around the house and playing sports, they will be more likely to pick up your good habits. On top of that, you’ll feel better too!
Patrick Moody is the director of marketing and public relations at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital. For more information about local community health programs, visit HenryMayo.com.