Keeping Your Kids Active This Winter

As published in ParentMap magazine, the Capitol Hill Times, the North Seattle Herald-Outlook, the South Seattle Beacon and Seattle City Living

Winter is here! And with winter come cold, rainy, dark days. What is a parent to do with kids who have a lot of unspent energy? Exercise! Getting kids to exercise in wintertime can be a struggle, but with 17% of U.S. youth between the ages of 2 and 19 being obese, it is more important than ever to get kids active. Here are a few ways to get your kids up and moving this winter.

Create a game or competition between siblings or friends:

  • Who can do the most jumping jacks without stopping?
  • Who can do the longest wall squat? Wall squat: Lean against wall, and then slide back down wall. Legs, wall and floor should create a square.
  • Make cleaning a competition—who can gather the most dirty laundry or dishes in three minutes?

Visit your local pool! Winter is a great time to take swim lessons, or let your kids play during open swim time.

During your next family game night, switch out your traditional board games for activities that require movement, such as Twister, charades or follow-the-leader.

Hold a family dance night. Have your kids put together a dance to perform for you, and for loads of laughs, show your kids how you use to dance when you were younger.

Check out nearby bowling alley and skating rinks for family time. And don’t forget your local community centers. They often have family time in their gyms for running, playing, basketball, volleyball and much more.

Turn your den, guest bedroom, basement or garage into a temporary wintertime gym with space for hopscotch, an indoor basketball hoop or just room to run.

Even though it is cold outside, bundle up and get outdoors:

  • Walk with your family during an organized weekend walk, such as the Jingle Bell Walk/Run or the Magnuson Run, Walk and Relay series.
  • Take a walk on a Christmas lights tour.
  • Our hilly region has some great outdoor staircases to walk or run, such as the stairs near Howe on Capitol Hill, near Thistle in West Seattle, or at Forbes Creek in Kirkland. See who in your family can run up the stairs the fastest.
  • Make yard work a game. Who can make the biggest leaf pile in five minutes?

While you are bundling up and getting outside, it is important to remember to:

  • Wear a hat for warmth.
  • Keep you feet dry with rain boots.
  • Bring water with you.
  • Eat lots of fruit and vegetables.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • And visit your pediatrician or family medicine physician for well-child checkups, vaccinations, and school and sports physicals.

Katy Jo Reinmiller, DPT, is a physical therapist at Pacific Medical Center Beacon Hill. Katy Jo attended the University of Illinois at Chicago school of physical therapy. She assists patients with the rehabilitation of orthopedic injuries and has a special interest in neuromuscular rehabilitation for patients who have suffered a brain injury or a stroke or who have multiple sclerosis. Click here to learn more about Katy Jo Reinmiller, DPT.

Katy Jo Reinmiller, DPT

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