Despite our mammalian heritage, humans do not hibernate. Still, during winter break it’s difficult for you and your kids to resist the urge to hunker under the covers all day and escape the cold.
The weather might not permit an all-out workout routine, but if you think snow is a big downer, it’s time for an attitude change. There are still plenty of fun activities you and your kids can partake in to stay fit and work off those winter blues. Cold, snowy weather offers all new avenues of safe thrills and fun, so long as you and your kids bundle up for warmth.
• Sledding/snow tubing: Head to your local park or sledding hill with a sled or inner tube and ride on down the slope. Many cities have designated tubing hills. Climbing a hill with your sled in tow offers plenty of exercise and your kids won’t even know it. If you don’t have a sled, don’t fret. No high-end, fancy sleds needed (although those are fine too), a simple inner tube works great!
• Skiing and snowboarding: Head to your nearest ski resort and strap on your skis or snowboard. Winding down slopes is a full-body exercise for your kids and works their balance, coordination, and core, arm, and leg muscles.
• Snowshoeing: Dress warm and explore the local wilderness. Check your local nature centers and state or national parks for trails. For heavily snowed areas, you can rent a pair of snowshoes, which help distribute your weight over a larger surface area to prevent you from sinking into the snow. Many national parks offer snowshoe rentals during winter seasons.
• Build a snowman: Or make a whole family of snowmen and women. Rolling up balls of snow is sure to work out your kids’ arms, legs, and imaginations. Top it all off with a carrot nose, scarf, and top hat.
• Snowball fight: Choose sides, set up base, and let the snowballs fly. Dodge and maneuver your way to better positions. You can adjust this to a game of capture the flag. Just make sure the kids use soft balls of snow, free of rocks, ice, and debris—and faces are off limits.
• Ice skating: Some cities’ parks and rec departments will actually flood parks in the winter to create outdoor rinks, but even non-freezing cities have indoor ice rinks. Your kids can exercise their balance, coordination, and leg muscles.
• Hockey: Once your kids have their basic ice skating moves down, join in on a quick pick-up game of hockey. If your kids get into the sport, they can join a team and play all season.
• Neighborhood stroll: During the holidays, your neighbors invest a great deal of time and money into all kinds of lights, inflatables, and décor. Take a night time stroll with the kids to see all those amazing holiday decorations and displays of imagination and creativity. You can get better acquainted with your neighborhood and enjoy some brisk exercise all at once.
• Caroling: Memorize the family’s favorite holiday tunes and take the show on the road. This is a great way to meet the neighbors, exercise your lungs, and get your heart pumping. Include a charity can and donate the funds to your charity of choice.
• Free play: If all else fails, let your kids have unbridled free play in the snow. They can create snow castles or forts, play their favorite summertime sports (with a twist), or imagine and act out grand, epic stories. As long as they’re having fun and not lazing about idly inside, your kids are doing enough to stay fit.
• Shovel the driveway: At the end of all that snow play, you can incorporate even more physical activity by having your kids shovel the driveway and front walkway. Chores are chores. Treat them to some healthy snacks when they’ve finished.
• Indoor fun: If the outsides are looking a little too harrowing, take the fun inside. There are a whole host of things you can do inside to stay active, or take the family over to the gym for indoor versions of your favorite sports, including swimming soccer, and rock climbing.
Photo Credit: Winter Trees by Christmasstockimages.com