October 20, 2014

Motivating Your Kids to Stay Active Even When It’s Cold Outside

Kid SleddingIn case you haven’t noticed, the days are getting shorter and the temperature is starting to drop.  Neither of these factors help you or your children stay motivated to be active.  Let’s face it, fitting in 30 to 60 minutes of daily physical activity is tough enough when it’s nice out.  Add in less than ideal weather, the kids back in school, and the demands of everyday life, and you’ve got a recipe for a sedentary lifestyle.  Although the thought of curling up in front of the TV with a cozy blanket and a tub full of popcorn is far more appealing than being physically active, unfortunately it doesn’t come with the same health benefits.

Some benefits of living a physically active lifestyle include:

  • Control your weight
  • Decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and some types of cancer
  • Strengthen your bones and muscles
  • Improve your mental health and mood
  • Increase your chances of living longer

Perhaps one of the most important reasons to keep your kids active all year long, is to help build healthy habits that will hopefully  last throughout their lifetime.  It may be tough to get moving at first, but the more you do it the easier it gets!  Be a positive role model and encourage your kids to stay active.  Not sure how to keep them active?  Why not give a few of the suggestions below a try the next time you want to get your kids moving.

Have them lend a helping hand. Although the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting colder, there is still a few hours each day to be active outside.  Encouraging your kids to help with some of the outdoor chores is a win-win situation.  They get physical activity in without even knowing it, and you get the work done in half the time.  Have your children lend a helping hand the next time you need to rake the lawn, shovel the driveway, stack the wood, or walk the dog.  Just be sure to put on plenty of layers to stay warm outside.

Interactive story time. Telling a story while having your kids act it out is a good way to stay active.  Tell them about an awesome adventure where they are searching for treasure.  First they have to crawl through some caves, then climb a tall tree, and finally jump over some fallen rocks.  A simple story can turn into an action adventure.  Use your kid’s imagination to your advantage by having them fill in parts of the story with you.

Participate in indoor games/sport. Many recreation centers offer indoor team sports, like basketball or soccer during the winter.  If your child is not a fan of sports, there are still plenty of indoor games to play as a family.  Why not build a fort in the middle of the living room?  Yes, fort building counts as physical activity.  Just be sure to enlist their help when taking the fort down as well.  If you have older kids in your family, you could also schedule a family fun night to go bowling or roller skating!

Put on your dancin’ shoes. Nothing like a good ol’ fashion dance party to get your blood flowing.  Turn up the jams and get to groovin’!  Not a dancer?  Don’t worry!  When you’re dancing at home you don’t have to have the smoothest moves.  Just wiggle your body and go with the flow.  You don’t have to have rhythm and coordination to burn calories.  To ensure ample excitement for the party, have your children help to make a playlist of their favorite songs.

Although the benefits of regular exercise are clear, they are not the only factor you should consider when motivating your kids to stay active.  It is unfortunate, but true- 1 out of 3 kids in the U.S. are overweight or obese.  Childhood obesity is not only associated with increased risk of certain health problem, but it also has an impact on the quality of a child’s life.  Depression, lack of self-esteem, and even the development of an eating disorder can stem from being overweight as a child.  These are all reasons why it is oh so important to stay active and encourage your children to do the same!

For even more ways to keep your kids moving, check out this other Around the Plate article:

Creative Ways to Keep Your Kids Moving Everyday

How do you keep your kids active all year long?

An Intern Behind the Plate,
~Elizabeth

About Intern Elizabeth

Elizabeth is a Registered Dietetic Technician, who graduated from Central Michigan University with a B.S. in Dietetics and Biomedical Sciences. She has always enjoyed eating, baking, flipping through cook books, watching cooking shows.... and well, just about anything that involves FOOD!! After seeing the improvements in her own life from eating a healthy diet and participating in regular exercise, she knew she wanted to pursue a career that would allow her to help others make the same healthy changes! She looks forward to sharing with you the nutrition information she has learned throughout her schooling, while also incorporating her own tips & tricks that will allow you to use this information in your everyday life.

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