We are well into the deep freeze, making it harder to keep our kids and ourselves reaching the health goal of 60 minutes of exercise every day. In the Chicago area it takes a little creativity, but we have a few suggestions to shake up your routine.
Organized basketball and swim teams are fantastic exercise for kids in the winter. If its too late to get involved this season, try these together as a family. Our kids learn so much from our example. Find the open gym times at your local schools. Many local high schools and YMCAs have open swim times. For example Evanston’s McGaw YMCA has family swim slots 7 days a week! Buffalo Grove High School has open swim Friday nights and Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
Of course we can dress appropriately for the weather and not let winter slow us down. Continue to play at your child’s favorite park. Build a fort, go sledding, skate indoors or out. Hike in a local forest preserve and search for animal tracks. The woods are beautiful this time of year! Try something new, rent snowshoes at Northerly Island or the Morton Arboretum.
We can get that heart rate up and break a sweat in the house as well. Think about a family exercise DVD before settling in for movie night. Try a family dance party. Make a game of it with freeze dance and limbo. Build a hopscotch court and a nerf hockey rink on the basement floor with masking tape.
Create your own obstacle course, circuit training or family Olympics. Think jump rope, balloon volleyball, crab walk and hula hoop. Try 60 second timed jumping jacks and shuttle runs. Have your kids show you what they do in PE. Film them making an exercise video.
If it is fun, we will keep at it, so let’s laugh, move and be healthy as a family.
Written by Dr. Eileen Beaty