Kids and Indoor Exercise During Cooler Temperatures

Keep your kids off the couch this fall and winter. Get active and healthy with these fitness tips.

The temperatures have cooled off and if the past is any indication of the future, we just might be in for another polar vortex. While we’re not there just yet, chances are your kids are spending a lot more time indoors – and it’s easy for them to turn into blanket burritos.

If your couch has a permanent indentation from your child’s hibernation last year, consider helping them make a change this year by helping them stay active indoors.

Lack of fitness

It’s not a secret that kids of today are not getting as much exercise as the kids of the past. In fact, the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition found that more than 80 percent of adolescents do not get the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended 60 minutes of physical activity a day.

So why are kids in such a fitness funk?

It’s a combination of things, says Brian Frawley, who formerly worked as the community program director at the Macomb Family YMCA. He explains that many parents don’t set the right example when it comes to being active. Actually, more than 80 percent of adults don’t exercise as much as they should.

“Many (parents) have a very sedentary lifestyle, which unfortunately rubs off on kids,” he says.

On top of that, throw in a couple of distractions – like television, that kids spend more than seven hours a day in front of – and a lack of required physical education classes in all but six states, and you have a recipe for inactiveness.

This lack of activity has led an upward trend in adolescent obesity rates, which as the Obesity Society points out sat at 20.5 percent in 2012 among kids ages 12-19, which was up up from 18.4 percent just two years earlier.

Tips for indoor activity

Kids today, however, are quite the busy little bees, and taking an hour away from your kids when they have a busy school day behind them and a night of heavy homework ahead might be easier said than done.

There are ways, though, to keep your kid from becoming another statistic – and boost their activity during the cooler months when they aren’t riding bikes or playing sports outside.

  • Set an example for their kids by living a more active lifestyle.
  • Turn anything and everything they can into a game or a challenge. House cleaning race, anyone?
  • Get kids involved in programs or activities at an early age. This way, even when it’s cooler outside, they are participating in some indoor activities like dance classes or basketball.
  • Grab some mats and do yoga as a family.
  • Head to a local family-friendly fitness center and workout indoors together.

And remember, “any amount of physical act can be good,” Frawley says. “It can be games or sports where they are up on their feet.”

This post was originally published in 2014 and has been updated for 2016.

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