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Oregon Family Magazine

Keeping Kids Active in Cold Weather Months

11/02/2022 ● By Pilar Bradshaw, M.D., F.A.A.P.
Daily exercise is essential for kids and their families, no matter the season. Regular exercise helps to boost the immune system, maintain strong muscles and bones, reduce the risk of health conditions like Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and improve mental health and sleep.

Of course, it’s much easier to be active when the weather is warm and the days are long. So, how do you encourage your family to be active when the days grow colder and shorter?

Get Creative, Have Fun

Strive for an hour of physical activity daily but remember that it doesn’t have to happen all at once. A few 15- to 20-minute bursts of movement throughout the day, whether you’re outdoors or indoors, will do the trick. Encourage children to participate by keeping it light, creative and fun!

Consider these outdoor activities:

  • Sign up for family fun runs or 5Ks and train together by setting small, attainable goals. Fun runs around the holidays are festive for the whole family. Or join Eugene Pediatric Associates’ Dr. Ross Newman on his monthly Saturday “Runs with Ross” at Alton Baker Park in Eugene. All ages and abilities are welcome, and families are encouraged to run together. Visit Eugene Pediatric Associates’ Facebook page for the latest run schedule.
  • Take a family walk or a bike ride. Or turn a ho-hum walk into an adventure by making it a scavenger hunt or by geocaching together.
  • Shoot baskets, throw a baseball, jump rope or go for a scooter ride.
  • If it snows, enjoy it! Build a snowman. Take a walk. Go for sled rides.

If stuck indoors, try these activities:

  • Compete to see how long you can hold plank position or do push-ups or stomach crunches – kids might be surprised and delighted to find that they can beat their parents at these! 
  • Create an indoor obstacle course with household items that encourages kids to crawl, jump or hop.
  • Turn up the music and dance or play games together, such as tag or hide-and-seek.
  • Play video games that require you to move your body.

 When active, remember to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. If outside, don’t forget the sunscreen, even if it’s cloudy outside. Snow and water reflect the sun’s rays, increasing the risk of sunburn. If the kids are going to be outside in cold weather, make sure that they bundle up and come inside to change into dry clothes if they get wet. Most importantly, have fun in your pursuit of activities that get your family moving, no matter the weather!