Raising Healthy Kids

How to Keep Your Kids Active During Cold Weather

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By Nick Parkinson, M.Ed., ATC, AT

Across the state, below freezing temperatures are predicted for the next few days. With the expected wind chill, many schools have already canceled classes so kids, parents and teachers won’t have to brave the cold.

When you’ve got your children in the house all day long, it can be a challenge to find ways to keep them occupied and active. Instead of letting them spend hours in front of the TV or just sitting around on an electronic device, there are many ways exercise can be used to keep them busy.

One of the best methods: try disguising exercise as play. This is a great way to get younger kids moving while channeling their energy. Some easy ways to do this could be:

  • Test out kid-friendly yoga. Look online for videos that walk through how to do different yoga poses that are tailored for kids.
  • Play a game that gets them moving. Blow up a balloon and have your kids volley it to one another without letting it touch the floor. You could also lay pillows on the floor and have your kids pretend the ground is lava as they jump from pillow to pillow.
  • Start up a dance party. Turn on the radio or queue up your favorite kid-friendly playlist and then dance like nobody is watching. Have a competition to see who has the best dance moves or take turns lip-syncing their favorite songs.

Related Topic: A Prescription to Play

Why doctors are actually prescribing “playtime” to their patients

Helping Young Athletes Stay in Shape

If you happen to have a young athlete in the house, there are many ways that they can keep in shape even if they aren’t practicing or spending time outdoors. Try out these exercises to keep their strength up and avoid injuries:

  • Bodyweight exercises. You do not need equipment to get moving at home. Make up a circuit of bodyweight exercises to get a full body workout. A few examples include:
    • Push-ups
    • Squats
    • Lunges
    • Bridges
    • Step-ups
    • Burpees
  • Isometric exercises. These exercises simply require you to hold a position with tense muscles for a brief period of time. As you tense up and then release these muscles, it works them out. Pick exercises to work different parts of the body:
    • Plank hold
    • Wall sit
    • Wall press
    • Squat hold
    • Bridge
    • Lunge hold
    • Prayer pose/chest squeeze
  • Static stretching. Stretching is a great way to keep muscles loose. Make sure to take your time and go slow to avoid injury.

Once the bad weather breaks and it gets a little warmer, don’t be afraid to let kids run around and spend time outside – as long as they are still properly bundled up and protected from the cold!

Visit henryford.com or call 1-800-HENRYFORD (436-7936) to schedule an appointment with a doctor or one of our athletic trainers.

You can read more parenting and fitness advice in our ParentWell and MoveWell sections, or subscribe to get all the latest tips right to your inbox.

Written By:

Nick Parkinson, M.Ed., ATC, AT

Nick has been part of the Henry Ford team since 2013, and currently works with the student athletes at University of Detroit Jesuit High School, as well as serving in the role of Lead Athletic Trainer with Henry Ford Sports Medicine. He has also provided athletic training services to the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, and the Great Lakes Loons, a Class A minor league affiliate of the L.A. Dodgers, as well as other high school teams. Nick was named High School Athletic Trainer of the Year in 2018 by the Michigan Athletic Trainers Society. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Athletic Training/Sports Medicine from Central Michigan University and a master’s degree in Kinesiology from Auburn University.

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