Staying active during the winter and cold months of the year can be very tricky. The idea of waking up in the freezing cold to head to the gym is unappealing to most, and cuddling up on the couch to watch a movie is a much better prospect.
However, there are many ways to keep you and your family active during this time, no matter the age of your children. Get your son to put on his sneakers and find your daughter’s scarf; here are some fun and engaging ways to stay active in the cold.
Why is it Important to Exercise in Winter?
The biggest problem with trying to stay active in winter is that all the best activities should be done outside, but no one wants to spend hours in the cold or rain. There is also the fact that most people will choose to stay warm and cosy inside with a blanket and watch their favourite movie or series.
Winter is also a time when people tend to eat heavier and heartier meals, and while they may be healthy, it is natural to eat more than usual as it is your body’s way of staying warm. To negate any negative effects of this, a little bit of exercise every day goes a long way.
Finally, due to the shorter daylight hours in the winter, many people find themselves prone to seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or depression. Staying active can be a way to counteract this. Moving helps our body generate happy hormones so that we feel better even during the darker days of winter.
How to Stay Motivated
Staying motivated can be a struggle as well; however, there are a couple of ways to make it easier. Don’t force yourself to do a particular amount of exercise; any amount is better than nothing. If you only feel like doing 20 minutes, just do 20 minutes.
The next thing is to make it fun. Exercise doesn’t just have to be going to the gym, and the cold months and snow offer new ways to exercise that are far more enjoyable. Instead of complaining about things you can’t do because of the cold and rain, enjoy the opportunities offered by the change of season to change up your exercise methods as well.
If you are lucky enough to get a lot of snowfall, building a snow fort is perfect for the whole family to take part in. You can use some wood if you want to create a structure or simply form some solid snowballs or bricks to create the shape. Last winter, when we got several inches of dry snow here on the west coast, the kids shoveled a huge pile of snow one day and then dug a fort into it the next day.
When done correctly, a snow fort can last all through the winter. Once the fort is built, it’s actually quite warm inside and the kids will have hours of fun playing there out of the wind. Depending on how much snow you have, you can also just dig into a pile of it and make a small burrow.
Going sledding is a brilliant way to exercise without even knowing you’re doing it. While the ride down the hill is fun, you will get a proper workout walking back up it again. This aspect makes it ideal for young children as they won’t even realize they’re exercising.
A snowball fight is 40% running and 50% throwing, with a bit of effort to gather the snow. This means it is another way to exercise while having a ton of fun doing it. However, avoid using snow that is on the road or snow covering gravel and stones, as it is very easy to pick up something heavy and sharp without realizing it.
Movement Video Games
Video games are perfect for improving coordination and mental capabilities; however, you don’t move your body that much. Nowadays, though, there are dozens of video games that incorporate movement of some kind.
You can pick up an older console, such as a PS2, for next-to-nothing and then have access to games such as Dance Dance Revolution, which is entirely movement-based. There are also other exergaming consoles designed specifically for kids, such as the TekyGo! learning and gaming console for toddlers that connects to a trampoline.
Half the reason many people don’t enjoy doing chores is that it’s a workout all on its own. This means it is the perfect way to be productive and exercise at the same time. While you may struggle to convince young children to join in, you can turn it into a game, and they can get a small treat at the end of it.
If you really want to feel the burn of the gym again, then the best choice is to find a few online workouts you can do. There are thousands of videos that offer workouts for the entire family, allowing your young children to join in too. Creating a fun exercise space for the family can help you actually make the workout happen each day. Workoutside also vary in length, meaning you can get a good workout in whether you have 30 minutes to spare or two hours.
Indoor Obstacle Course
Creating an indoor obstacle course for your young children is much easier than you think. You can use what is around you, and your kids can jump from cushion to cushion, crawl under the table, or whatever else you can think of.
The best option would be to keep everything low to the ground, as the last thing you want is for an accident due to a child getting a little too excited or going a bit too fast.
Drop-in at Your Recreation Centre
Winter is also a great time to check out the activities at your local recreation centre. While it’s cold outside, you can stay active indoors by going swimming and skating or participating in drop-in sports.
Winter is definitely the worst month for those in need; therefore, volunteering at a shelter is a brilliant way to stay active while helping the less fortunate. You can offer to gather wood for fires, do some cooking, or simply help out at a soup kitchen by handing out meals.