Dustin W. Bogan, PA-C
January has officially arrived and along with it we have received snow, ice, and plenty of cold and rainy days. Days have become shorter and most of us arrive home long after the sun has set. It is simple enough to grab a blanket, relax on the couch, and even go to bed earlier to catch up on some much needed sleep. Although I definitely encourage all of the above, it is still important to get up and be active. With many ups and downs, Winter makes it increasingly difficult for families to maintain, or begin, an active lifestyle. The AAP currently recommends a minimum of an hour of physical activity per day for most children and within the last year, they have even released a formal recommendation for a “prescription for play,” and of course it doesn’t expire with the cooler temperatures.
Below are some ideas on how to continue to be active, even in falling temperatures.
Believe it or not, this has always been one of my favorite activities. As a kid, I would blow up a balloon and try my best to bounce the balloon into the air without ever allowing it to hit the floor. Even today, I encourage parents to incorporate balloon activities on rainy days to give their children a chance to play.
The game itself is really quite simple and all you would need is a balloon. You can pick an arbitrary net and bounce the balloon back and forth from one side of the room to the other. If you want to really get creative, you can even create a makeshift volleyball net with yarn.
Yoga is an incredible indoor and outdoor activity for any time of year. For young children, there are simple stretches and holding poses that can entertain even the most fidgety toddler. Feel free to check out “Yoga for Elephants” via a local bookstore or online retailer.
As children (and adults) get more comfortable with simple poses like downward dog and tree pose, they can begin to stretch and work on increasing flexibility all in a low impact way.
Create an indoor obstacle course:
Encourage your children to navigate through obstacles created with masking tape, hula-hoops on the floor, or even some of their favorite toys. You can really get your own creative juices flowing while creating a fun activity for your family. Remember not to allow young children to climb tall objects without supervision and to avoid any sharp objects that may create an undesired injury along the way.
This is definitely a classic in my book. Most of us think of acting out our favorite movie or imitating a well-known character, but charades can be turned into an in home physical activity any time. You can incorporate common exercises into the game and then have the entire family act out certain activities promoting movement. The laughter itself can even work out some far too often under looked muscles.
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