by Don Zabloski
At this time of year, we should all be celebrating our personal and family-related achievements, while looking forward to another active year. Our physical activity levels are relevant to the success of our daily personal routines and our roles at home, school, work and in the community. Here are some ideas to keep your family moving this winter:
Go outside and explore.
Taking your children for nature walks is the start of something very special, not just from a fitness perspective but also to create an appreciation for their natural environment. The experience will help them feel safe and comfortable while being outdoors in parks, playgrounds, sports fields and natural forested areas.
Play in the snow.
The only thing kids love more than playing in the snow is when their parents play along with them. It’s time to get out the toboggan for some classic Canadian winter fun. Build a snowman, construct a snow fort, make snow angels or throw snowballs at a target like an empty recycling bin. Even shovelling snow is more entertaining when the kids come out to “help.”
Make the most of the light.
Encourage your kids to spend time outside after school by letting them play in the schoolyard or on the snow hill for a few extra minutes. A family after-dinner walk is always a worthwhile idea, as long as you’re wearing high-visibility accessories. Your kids will enjoy the novelty of strapping on a flashing armband or wearing a headlamp.
Decompress in an active way.
Family movie nights are great, but try using active time to de-stress, too. Turn on the music and dance, do some yoga-type stretches or take the dog for a walk. The change of scenery and opportunity for conversation may be just the thing for a family member who is feeling down or anxious.
Support active family members of all ages who participate in an organized sport (like hockey or soccer) or a structured activity (like dance or martial arts). Attend as many games, practices or competitions as possible. During the “down time” before and after the game, keep yourself moving by walking around or climbing the steps of the sports complex.
Pay it forward.
Share your active strategies with other families, friends, colleagues or extended family members. Others may need help getting started or may be looking for a boost to their own routines. Invite them to join you as you discover a new location or activity. More people equals more fun!
Don Zabloski is a former Physical Education and Health Consultant currently residing in Victoria, B.C. He is also the co-author of Running Room’s Book on Family Fitness with John Stanton.