It's Saturday, and you wake to the sound of rain pounding on the bedroom window and your toddler stirring in his bed. How will you keep your little one busy and active today while the storm rages outside? A visit to the park is obviously not in order. Despite the uncooperative weather, there are a host of things you can do to help both you and your child get active. Don't let the weather be an excuse to skip exercise!
Childhood obesity is rising at such an alarming rate that it’s now considered an epidemic. According to the National Institutes of Health, “The number of children who are overweight has doubled in the last two to three decades; currently one child in five is overweight.”
Dr. Carol Torgan says, “The main culprits are the same as those for adult obesity: eating too much and moving around too little.” Doctors say the best way to keep your children fit and healthy is to promote an active lifestyle from the beginning. Fitness experts like Brandon Holt, director of Sports Enhancement at the Franklin, Tennessee, YMCA agrees: “The more active a child is, the more likely the child will continue those habits into adulthood,” he says.
But that can be tough when playing outside isn’t possible. "In the summer, I can throw open the back door and let my two-year-old twins play on the swing set or pedal their tricycles in the driveway,” explains busy mom Allie Nubuck. “But in the winter, I find myself keeping them entertained with videos or coloring with crayons.”
It’s a problem all parents encounter as the temperature drops or rain clouds roll in. You want to keep your munchkins active because exercise tires them out for naps, works up a good appetite, keeps boredom and whining at bay, and of course, keeps them trim and healthy. But when it’s too cold or rainy to go to a park and even a walk outside requires tons of preparation, getting your kids to exercise seems impossible.
But there is hope! Holt, who teaches a Kardio Kids fitness class says, “Physical activity is anything that causes energy expenditure. This means jumping on the bed could be considered physical activity.”
That’s great news for kids! What’s even better news for parents is that you can make your house a physical fitness haven for your children with very little effort and often zero cost. Try a different activity each day and see which ones your kids like best.