Did you know about 1 in 5 children in the United States has obesity? Children who are overweight are more likely to have serious health problems. Our goal as health care providers and team members is to encourage children to be more physical active and maintain a healthy weight. One way to help prevent obesity is being physically active. As it gets colder outside, it can be harder to keep children active. Here are three ways to keep children active in the cooler weather:
- Create an indoor obstacle course: You don’t need anything special to do this – a chair, box, couch cushions or no objects at all. Here are some ideas: hop on one foot, run around a chair, do somersaults, squats, touch toes, jump between or over couch cushions, carry a box, etc. Kids seem to like to race to get things done. Time them and have them try to beat their own time.
- Take a walk: Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you can’t go outside. Just bundle up! Check out this website for a list of local trails. You could also take a walk through your neighborhood. Parents, this is also a great opportunity for some one-on-one time with your child.
- Go to the park: There are a lot of parks in our community. Not all of them have play equipment, but you could bring a ball or Frisbee to play with. In the winter, some of these parks may have sledding areas. Kids can make snowmen, forts and snow angels too.
Here are even a few more options: Dancing, swimming lessons, indoor sports teams, consider activities through schools in your area and your local YMCA has great fitness options and activities for kids and adults in the cooler months. There are options for scholarships and reduced prices as well.
Kelsey VanderLaan, RN
Registered Nurse at Heart of the City Health Center Pediatrics