5 Fun (and free) ways to get the family active in the winter!

With childhood obesity on the rise it is important that kids stay active and to encourage a lifelong love of exercise and fitness. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends one hour a day of some kind of physical activity for a child even in winter.  Now as hardy New Englanders, we know this can be tricky during the cold months but there are still simple and free ways to get the family moving and have fun at the same time. Here are five great examples.

Dance Party
One of the easiest ways to get moving without much effort is to move your body and what better way then have a dance party right in your home! Simply crank up the music and dance until you can’t dance any more. You can even have a contest on who creates the best moves and can dance the longest to help keep the kids engaged. Have each child take a break by judging the other dancers and use little cards to write down their score to keep it entertaining.

Fitness Course
When the family is tired of dancing why not make an obstacle course inside your home? With safety in mind, use each room to teach one lesson and use simple exercises that anyone in your family can complete. Make the living room the sit-up room and lay blankets on the floor for each family member and race to do ten sit-ups. Use the dining room for chair push-ups or squats and make a bedroom the jumping jacks room (on the floor of course) and many other ideas. And if the kids are old enough you can even use the stairs as a great heart-pumping exercise.

Video Games
This may sound contradictory but use video game systems like Wii or PlayStation to pump up the energy. Games like Just Dance or Zumba Fitness are great examples of ways to get the family moving and the kids will think they are just playing a game! Don’t have any? You can rent these from RedBox and Netflix, or find a neighbor/friend to trade off games with for a bit!

Yoga (and DVDs)
Another great way to help kids stay active is to teach them yoga. Not only does yoga keep them moving but helps with flexibility and strength which will help tremendously when Spring or Summer sports begin. You can find yoga DVDs or tutorials online and if yoga isn’t something that interests your family then simply encourage movement with any gentle exercise DVD. Look for one that combines cardio with strength training, particularly designed for families or kids.

Get Outside in the Snow And Play!
No explanation necessary! Simply get out and play. Build snow forts or climb up the highest snow bank to get their hearts pumping. No snow outside? They can still be outdoors as long as they are bundled up properly. Send the kids on a hunt for sticks or leaves that may be on the ground and they will enjoy the scavenger hunt. Plus your yard will be cleaned as a bonus!

It doesn’t really matter what they do as long as the kids get moving. By exercising as a family you will be teaching them a life lesson that fitness and health are just as important as having fun.

About the author: Mackenzie Batchelder Field is a writer and bargain hunter guru living in Seacoast, NH. She is the mother of two little girls and married to a Navy Reservist and admits to being a coffee addict. You can find her bargain hunting tips and general advice at The Centsible Family. Check her out at www.thecentsiblefamily.com, Facebook and Twitter.

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