8 Ways to Encourage Physical Activity this Winter

8 Ways to Encourage Physical Activity this Winter
Posted on 01/04/2019

As we head into the freezing cold Minnesotan winter season, our children often struggle to find ways to stay active. Avoid the urge to snuggle in a blanket and watch movies every night! Physical activity has many health benefits –muscle strength, heart health, flexibility and coordination. Let’s set the bar higher this winter and get moving! Instilling a healthy lifestyle in childhood will roll over into adulthood. Here are a few activities that you might not think of as “exercise” that your family can try this winter!

  1. Bundle up and take a walk in the snow
    • Believe it or not, walking in the snow is a great way to strengthen your ‘stabilizing’ muscles. Make it an adventure by looking for animal tracks (or for younger kids, pretend to be the animals). Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing will expand your horizons even further, allowing you to explore the remote wilderness.
  2. Head over to the local ski hill
    • The whole family can enjoy skiing, snowboarding or snowtubing. Buck Hill Ski & Snowboard Area in Burnsville is a nearby option, offering lessons to kids (and adults) of all ages. Or just find a hill in your backyard and go sledding!
  3. Bring the workout home
    • Clear space in your living room and watch kid’s dance fitness videos. During TV commercial breaks, jog in place, do body weight squats, sit-ups and burpees. Incorporate weights, resistance bands, skipping ropes or stability balls. Hang a basketball hoop on the wall or set up indoor hockey nets. For little ones, tape hopscotch to the floor.
  4. Convert your backyard into a play zone
    • Create an obstacle course outside using balls, ropes, and household items around your house. When the snow falls, create a target with red food coloring and throw snowballs at it. For younger kids, making snowmen, snow angels and snow forts is always a blast!
  5. Plan a trip to the skating rink
    • Take the family to an outdoor skating rink, such as the Schmitz-Maki Ice Arena in downtown Farmington. Ice skating and playing hockey are great aerobic and social workouts. If cold isn’t your thing, try an indoor roller-skating rink like Cheap Skate!
  6. Join an indoor sport or fitness program
    • Check out the local community & fitness centers and sign up for a program: indoor basketball, floor hockey, volleyball, soccer, swimming, yoga, martial arts, or dance.
  7. Make a trip to the mall
    • Do laps inside shopping mall (you could even jump or do flips on the trampolines). Climb the stairs to get a bonus leg workout – a brisk one-hour walk can burn 300 to 400 calories.
  8. Try your hand at bowling
    • Head over to the local bowling alley, Farmington Lanes, and strengthen those arm muscles. Walking back and forth down the lane and swinging weighted bowling balls can boost blood circulation and improve bone health. Cosmic bowling is especially fun!

Be brave and try something new this winter! Always remember to incorporate physical activity into your children’s daily routine – don’t make it a chore, although shoveling is a great workout. Have fun!

Sponsored by the Farmington Area Wellness Committee and the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership