Most of us have been cooped up due to the bitterly cold weather all across the country. We can either complain about it or make the most of it. I say…let’s make the most of it!
School was out three different days in the last two weeks. During that time, I could tell the “boredom” attitude was setting in with him. I asked if he wanted to play a board game. He laughed and said, “Really, Mom…they are called board games for a reason – I get bored!” Of course that’s a 13 year old’s answer if I’ve ever heard one! BUT…he did have a point. Board games can get boring over time because they aren’t active games.
I decided to turn his boredom into active play! During these cooped up winter days, I encourage you to let loose on the “no running in the house” rule and do just that…RUN! Play tag, tickle monster, or even that game called hyper dash (it’s one of my favorites) where you run from station to station covering up a cup-type of block with an electronic handheld device. You have to cover each cup-like block at each station while being timed. It’s fun and you’ll break a sweat if you make the stations far enough away from one another.
Another idea is to create circuit stations of fun exercises all around the house and time everyone doing each one. The stations could be jumping jacks, hula-hooping, push-ups, handstands, punch outs, “scary feet” (from Monsters Inc.) – it’s basically running in place then jumping to the ground similar to a burpee. Do each station for 30-60 seconds and go through the stations a couple times throughout the day to keep moving.
Indoor relays across the living room if you have 4 or more kiddos could be fun as well. Bear crawls, crab crawls, or even jumping across the room on one leg. Oh, and make sure you join in on the fun too! No need to be a drill sergeant, just a director of fun and movement!
According to Dr. Joan Vernikos, research scientist and former director of NASA’s Life Sciences Division, concludes through her studies that the body starts to atrophy after just 20 minutes of sitting…so move and move often! Even if you do something simple like stand up and practice calf raises. Something is always better than nothing. Dr. Vernikos’ study showed that astronauts in space aged almost 10 years because their bodies were not working against gravity. The age showed up in their muscular structure, bone density, and in how they looked. Just as if someone were bed-ridden for any length of time, our bodily systems start to show signs of atrophy after just sitting and/or standing for 20 minutes straight. What does that mean? It means every 20 minutes – if you are sitting…stand up! If you are standing…squat down! Work against gravity to keep all systems “alive.”
And of course if you do want to get outside, then bundle up in layers making sure that your face, head, and hands are covered. Snowball fights would be a great way run around and have fun, too! OR doing some cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or hiking would be a great way to stay warm and active. No need to stay cooped up if you are dressed for the occasion. Winter is inevitable and there are several ways to get out and enjoy it – go for it…the fresh air will do you good!