Keep your family moving in the winter

Even though the weather is chilly, there are still plenty of fun ways to stay physically active as a family!

Cold weather offers great ways to have fun, either by yourself or with the children in your life. Take time to play together and to move more. You’ll all feel good! According to the USDA, adults should try to get at least two hours and thirty minutes of physical activity over several days. Children need at least 60 minutes of physical activity most days. Here are some ideas to keep your family moving in the cold winter months.

Get moving inside:

  • Turn up the music and dance. Yes, even (or especially!) if you are by yourself. Swing your arms like a conductor or just move to the music. You can teach your children or grandchildren the “old” steps, too!
  • Take ‘commercial’ walks, when watching television. Each time a commercial comes on walk to another room and back. You could also just march in place for a few minutes.
  • Stairs can be a bonus. Do you have a few things to bring upstairs or downstairs? Carry them in separate trips and log a few more steps.
  • Act out a story. Do you have kids in the house? Read a book together and move to give it action. If it’s a book about food, make the recipe together later.
  • Create an obstacle course.Kids love to tumble over pillows, crawl through open boxes and jump into hula-hoops.

Get moving outside:

  • Take a nature hike at a local park or playground. Look for animal tracks in the snow. Look for birds, squirrels, rabbits or other animals.
  • Take a neighborhood walk. How do things look different in the winter?
  • Feed the animals. Decorate an outdoor tree for the birds by hanging apples, pinecones rolled in peanut butter, or popcorn strings. Or feed the squirrels or the bunnies in your neighborhood.
  • Bundle-up to play in the snow. If you don’t have children or grandchildren of your own, teach the neighbor kids how to create snow angels. Make a “snow family” and don’t forget a snow dog! Go sledding or tobogganing. Climb a snow mountain. Make crazy paths through the snow.  
  • Help the family shovel snow to get the job done! Or, if you aren’t able to shovel, try sweeping the path clean. Your help will be appreciated!

If you make a point, as an adult, to get your two and a half hours of physical activity during the week in creative and fun ways such as these, you will model healthy behavior for the children in your life. Help them reach their 60 minutes of physical activity each day by having fun while moving. Visit the USDA for more tips on increasing physical activity.

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