Winter does not have to mean that time of year where kids become lazy and gain weight and flab. I’m a certified personal trainer. I will start with younger children first, as far as getting them to exercise more in the winter.
Getting young kids to exercise more in the winter: Limit TV time and enroll them in winter programs at the local recreation center, such as swimming, dance, martial arts, gymnastics, tumbling, rock-wall climbing and miscellaneous physical activities that are designed for specific age brackets.
Rec centers have exercise classes for kids as young as 3 years. Kids this young can learn rock-wall climbing, and independent martial arts schools often have classes for preschool children.
Getting grade school kids to exercise more in the winter: Limit TV and computer time and enroll them, again, at the local rec center. However, parents can take older children on winter hikes or even bike rides if you live in a southern state.
Take your kids to the park and shoot hopes, play Frisbee or toss footballs. On a sunny winter day with all the snow melted, these activities can be enjoyed.
Getting adolescent and teen kids to exercise more in the winter. Apply the previous guidelines, but consider adding one more to the list: Signing them up for personal training.
Now, I fully realize that this is nowhere near in many peoples’ budgets. But the reality is, there are plenty of parents out there who have money to burn, PLUS lazy and unmotivated kids.
If the money is there, put it to good use: What you may think is the laziest kid in the world might actually get hooked on personal training sessions — and being overweight is NOT a requirement for this! Personal training is more than just about losing weight; it’s about getting clients excited about exercise and fitness, and learning proper technique.
For parents who don’t have the funds for personal training, what about just getting your kids a youth membership at the local rec center or even gym? In fact, if you work out, take your kid with you and show him/her the ropes.
If you don’t belong to a gym, consider joining, or, purchase some workout DVDs and work out with your kids to them. You can also buy some rudimentary exercise equipment like dumbbells, a medicine ball and tension bands. Older kids can also be signed up for volleyball and basketball programs.
All ages can participate in bowling and sledding. And please, in your attempt to get your kids to exercise more this winter, don’t think the problem is solved by making them shovel snow.
First of all, snowfall isn’t frequent enough; exercise should be at least three days a week. Second, shoveling can lead to back injury in kids — this is a form of haphazard, non-structured weight lifting and should never, ever be compared to “playing in the snow.”
Last but not least, to get your kids to exercise more this winter, you may want to consider delegating the pushups and mountain climbers every time they act “disrespectful”!