Stay Active This Holiday Season

Thursday, 15 Dec 2011, 12:12:00 AM

Special To The Mirror

Stephanie Walsh, M.D.

The holiday season has arrived. It’s a time for parties, presents, and holiday cheer.

However, it can also be a season of little activity and over-indulging.

As the weather cools down, children are often tempted to stay inside in front of the television or a video game rather than play outside.

Eating healthily can present additional challenges when faced with party buffets, holiday sweets, and large family meals.

Don’t let the holidays stop you from staying healthy.

Getting more activity is a great way to balance the extra calories consumed this time of year. Remember that small steps can add up to big changes.

While there’s no harm in relaxing, there are a lot of fun ways you can stay active this winter. Instead of giving gifts like video games or DVDs that promote screen time, try giving gifts that promote physical activity like a Frisbee, jump rope, or football. The holidays are a great time to have fun together as a family, so try one of the ideas below to get everyone moving.

Winter Activity Ideas

- Create your own family “boot camp,” combining indoor and outdoor exercises that everyone can do together

- Set up an obstacle course indoors with everyday household items (for instance, pillows make great obstacles to jump over)

- Set up a scavenger hunt around the house, yard, or neighborhood

- See who can do the most push-ups, jumping jacks, or exercise of your choice during a commercial break (have a ‘counter’ and an ‘exerciser’ and switch each break, make it a friendly competition)

- Bundle up and play outside. Walk the dog, play touch football, Frisbee, or kickball.

- If the weather really won’t allow for “play time” outside, have a dance party, or play hide-and-go-seek.

- If you’re going to play a video game, choose one that requires physical activity rather than just sitting on the couch.

Stephanie Walsh, M.D., is Medical Director of Child Wellness at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

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