In the cold bleak days of winter, it’s easy to fall into the trap of spending just a little too much ‘cozy time’ in front of the TV, or other electronic devices. That’s why it’s especially important to make the conscious decision to stick to a healthy lifestyle.
Getting active every day to support a healthy lifestyle can also be a whole lot of fun…. and of course making it fun is a great way to establish positive lifestyle habits in our kids (regardless of the season…. and especially during winter school holidays)!!
Here’s some fantastic ways for the entire family to stay active and well all winter:
- Get Outside: Just because it’s cold, doesn’t mean you have to stay inside…. rug up, add a few more layers, pop on a beanie and wear thicker socks or boots instead of joggers. Take the dog for a walk or go shoot some hoops with friends…. once you start moving around, you’ll have the heart rate up and will be feeling warm and toastie before you know it!
Other activities to consider:
- Jogging or running
- Team sports
- Raking leaves
- Playing in the snow!
- Check Out an Indoor Location: When you’re experiencing a long run of cold and dreary days (especially during school holidays), getting out of the house can help prevent cabin fever. Try to prioritise locations that incorporate movement, such as a bowling alley, indoor trampoline centre, or even an indoor swimming pool. Also check out structured activities designed especially for kids as gyms, or your local PCYC too.
Other ‘at home’ indoor activities to consider:
- Active housework (vacuuming, sweeping, mopping)
- Stair climbing
- Home workout fitness circuits
- Yoga and stretching
- Get Creative with Board or Console Games: Remember Twister? It’s great for flexibility, joint mobility and even cardio fitness once the laughter erupts! What about 20 star jumps every time you ‘pass go’ when you’re playing monopoly? The latest gaming systems offer some great, family-friendly options to get everybody moving too!
- Eat Well: Winter meals don’t need to be stodgy and laden with starchy carbs such as pasta, rice and potatoes or covered in rich sauces that are high in fats. There are still a whole array of high fibre fruits and vegetables available in the colder months that will support optimal physiological functioning and immune system fortification, as well as many protein sources that are extremely low in saturated fat.
If exercising outdoors during winter is something you hadn’t seriously considered before, here’s some even brighter benefits that might just convince you to get out there and have fun, right now!!
- Being outdoors is a great way to warm up in the sunshine and get some Vitamin D, which will help to support bone strength.
- You’ll beat the winter blues with greater exposure to sunshine and the exercise will produce ‘feel-good’ endorphins.
- Your body will burn more calories in the cold weather in order to regulate core temperature.
- You’ll fill your lungs with fresh air, helping you to avoid exposure to infections found within enclosed spaces, such as the home or office. Exercise also boosts the immune system generally.
- There’s no heat or humidity to contend with and the crisp winter air will make you feel even more alive and invigorated.
That’s some great bonuses, wouldn’t you agree? However, there are also some important tips to be aware of, if you are hitting the frosty air for extended periods:
- When layering, select fabrics that wick moisture away from your skin. Next, add a layer of fleece, and then finally cover with a thin water and wind proof layer.
- Know the signs of hyperthermia! If your core temperature falls below 35 degrees, it could be fatal. Check for lack of coordination, mental confusion and slurred speech, which could be difficult to determine in small children (or the elderly).
- Stay well hydrated regardless of the cooler temperatures. Your body will still be losing valuable moisture through the skin and with every exhalation, and thirst isn’t always the best indicator that you need to drink.
Make this winter one that you use to your advantage! Rather than surrendering to the ‘snuggle-up’ mindset that keeps you and the kids inactive and on the couch, make it one filled with new and fun adventures that keep you moving (especially outdoors, where possible).
You’ll be thrilled that you did, when you all emerge in spring…. absolutely blooming!
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