Keep your kids moving and healthy with a variety of indoor and outdoor activities.
Q: How can I keep my children active and heart healthy during the winter months?
A: Activities inside vary based on age, but getting your heart rate up is easy! Dance parties, exercise videos, and games that require exercise like hide and seek, Simon Says, hula hooping, skipping ropes, indoor hopping, or an indoor obstacle course are great ideas for keeping kids moving.
Don’t forget that certain tasks can also be heart-healthy. Challenging kids to do these tasks quickly is a great way to turn it into a game and get their heart rate up.
Outdoor activities cover a wide range: walking, running, playing in the snow (building snowmen, snow angels or forts, throwing snowballs and sledding) or visiting a park or playground are great options as long as they are done safely. If you find activities that your kids love, they’ll want to participate.
Make sure you dress your child in lots of layers for the outdoors: as indoor and outdoor temperatures change, they can adjust what they’re wearing. Look for clothing that is thinner, yet efficient at keeping the body warm while also wicking away moisture. Hats, gloves and boots are a must when there is snow and mud. If it’s very cold, especially if temperatures drop into your 20s (or lower with wind chill), limit your time outdoors. Apply sunscreen even in winter: light snow can increase the glare from the sun.
Regular physical activity is not only good for the heart. It can prevent conditions such as cancer and type 2 diabetes, and promote overall lifelong health and wellbeing. Ensuring children get the recommended 60 minutes of exercise each day can be difficult, but good habits can be developed with good planning.
Always ask your child’s pediatrician about your child’s health.
For more pediatric health news parents can use, check out our blog: 700childrens.nationwidechildrens.org.
Andrew Tran, MD, is a pediatric cardiologist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
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