Winter has arrived along with freezing temperatures, snowy weather, short days and long nights. However, the key to a healthy lifestyle is not to hibernate but to make sure an active lifestyle lasts all winter long.
“The winter months can make it challenging to get the recommended one hour of physical activity each day for children,” says Christie Bernard, resource nurse in the Lipid Clinic at Dayton Children’s. “It’s important to make sure that kids continue to be active in the winter months. Exercise helps children build healthier bones, strengthen muscles, improve flexibility, boost energy level and fend off cabin fever.”
Dayton Children’s offers five tips to keep kids active in the winter:
- Enjoy the outdoors. As long as children are dressed appropriately in warm layers and stay hydrated, there are many different kinds of winter activities to enjoy as a family—from a simple walk in the snow to ice skating, sledding or cross country skiing. Make the most of the winter wonderland.
- Make an indoor gym. Consider incorporating indoor stretching and exercise into typically sedentary activities. Stretch during commercials if you are watching TV. If your children need a more structured workout, consider stopping by your local library and checking out some kid-friendly exercise videos. Reconfigure your furniture to make room for rolling, climbing and tumbling in the home.
- Take advantage of community opportunities. Get a recreation guide for your community or watch the paper for fun activities that you can attend as a family to get out of the house.
- Limit screen time. Place limits on the amount of video, computer and TV time your child has each day. These habits can lead to a sedentary lifestyle and over-snacking.
- Be a role model. Setting the example for your children is very important. Make sure to join in on their winter activities to keep yourself healthy as well.
With a combination of physical and social activities, you and your children can keep fit by following these simple tips. Try it this winter.
About our Expert: Christie Bernard, RN, BSN, resource nurse in the lipid clinic
Christie Bernard is a graduate from Wright State University in 1993. She started her nursing career at Good Samaritan Hospital in labor and delibery/mother baby . Through that experience she decided that pediatric nursing was her passion and pursued a career at Dayton Children’s. She has been a pediatric nurse at Dayton Children’s for 15 years. She have worked in the Lipid clinic for 7 of those years where she assesses and educates patients and families with obesity related complications and hypercholestolemia.