by Jillian McAfee

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As the winter months are growing colder, we may struggle to find ways to stay active, but physical inactivity does not need to be a result of the dreary weather. Do not stay cooped up all winter! Get Up, Get Moving and Get Active!

Physical activity has numerous benefits for you. It makes your muscles stronger, improves your heart health, increases your flexibility and coordination, and most importantly sets the basis for a healthy life! Let’s face it; habits that are adapted during your childhood and teenage years are likely to roll over into adulthood.

Now, I know many of you are not worrying about what life will be like as an adult, but you might be worrying about what game you are going to play on your Nintendo Wii® next! Well I have good news for you — there are many activities that you might not even think of as “exercise” that can help make a happier, healthier you. Incorporating these activities into your daily life will help you develop a healthy lifestyle that can benefit you for the rest of your life.

During the holiday season, we always get together with family and friends. Exercise can be a great way to not only benefit your health, but to help the people you love the most. Also, keep in mind that surrounding yourself with friends or family members who want to stay active can give you more opportunities to play and be active! I want to challenge all of you to do some type of activity every day! Get Up, Get Moving and Get Active!

Great Ways for Kids to Exercise this Winter
Active Video Game Technology
There is a ton of new technology out these days including Xbox 360® Kinect, Playstation®Move and Nintendo Wii®. Whether you want a customized strength training workout or a spontaneous active game, you can find something entertaining! With Xbox 360® Kinect, you use your body as the controller — you are the athlete, the dancer, the UFC fighter or even the Kung Fu Panda punching and kicking on the screen.

Play Outside
Just because it’s cold outside does not mean you have to stay cooped up inside! Put on your hat and scarf and bundle up for some good old fashion fun. There are tons of activities that you can do outside in the winter. You can go ice-skating or sledding, decorate the front yard with a snowman and snow angels, and even have a snowball fight (regardless of what your parents might say). Create an obstacle course using balls, jump ropes, simple items around the house and trees in your yard! You can also play with a pet — take your dog for a walk or offer to take the neighbors’ pet.

Indoor Facilities
If it is too cold out and you want to get out of the house for a bit, you can go play at an indoor roller-skating rink, a bowling alley, a local gym, an indoor basketball court, or even go swimming in an indoor pool! Ask your parents to check out the local community and fitness centers to see what programs they offer for kids.

Get Involved in Structured Activity
If you want to get involved in something fun and consistent, have your parents enroll you in a class! You never know if you will find an activity you love to do. Classes could range from martial arts, swimming lessons, indoor cycling, kid’s yoga or dance lessons.

Just Dance
Even if you do not take dance lessons, create a fun playlist on your iPod and let loose. Dancing is a fun way to burn calories and a great stress reliever. There are numerous styles of kid’s dance fitness videos that you can check out if you need some guidance.

Take a Break from the TV
Do not let yourself sit for too long of a period. Kids have to sit all day at school and then typically want to go home and watch their favorite shows. Get up during the commercial breaks and get your body moving – doing simple exercises such as jogging in place, body weight squats, sit-ups or jumping jacks.

Create your “Active Space”
You can be active anywhere in your home, but it might be fun to set up a special place with activities you like to do. This could range from hanging a basketball hoop on the wall, taping hopscotch to the floor, setting up indoor hockey nets, or placing a chair up in your room to practice ballet. Regardless of the activities you choose, make this space your own!

As you can see, there are many physical activities that are good for your health. I encourage you to try something new this winter because you never know if you will find an activity or a passion that will change your life. When you are choosing the physical activities to incorporate into your day, remember that this should be something you can have fun with. So Get Up, Get Moving, and Get Active!


About the Author:
Jillian McAfee is a fitness and health specialist at IU Health Bariatric & Medical Weight Loss. She received her bachelor of science degree in kinesiology from Indiana University and is a certified personal trainer through The American College of Sports Medicine. Jillian is passionate about inspiring individuals to live a healthy and active lifestyle.