Family-friendly winter activities are a life saver. In the winter, the temperatures drop and dark days really make hot chocolate and a movie quite tempting. This winter, I have committed to keep myself—and my family—healthy. Beyond some all-season family-friendly sports, here are five winter-friendly activities so your whole family can get a head start on that New Year’s resolution to get fit:
Just dance: Ever since I found the best Zumba instructor ever, exercising has never been the same for me. Dancing will beat out almost any other gym class because, well, it doesn’t feel like exercise. Not only do I work up a sweat, but dancing makes me happy. Why not have a little party at home with the family? Jam to some merengue, bachata, or salsa. According to this calculator on Glamour.com, a woman weighing 130 lbs. can burn about 340 calories after dancing salsa for an hour.
Head to the recreation center: Your city’s local rec center or YMCA might be a good place to start for low-cost access to both a basketball court or indoor pool. Playing a casual pickup game or practicing the crawl stroke for an hour will burn the same of energy as salsa dancing: 340 calories (for a 130 lb. woman). Swimming is also much easier on the joints than running.
Go bowling: Bowling is a fun pastime for people of all ages. Even abuelita can come along. Bowling won’t burn as many calories as dancing or swimming, but you’ll be picking up an 8 lb. ball and working muscles that don’t get used every day. You’ll also be flexing and stretching as you try to knock down those bowling pins. Just steer clear of the greasy, fat-laden snacks at the bowling alley.
Snow games: I used to dread winter sports and activities because I often ended up feeling like I was nearing a frostbitten state. Turns out I need more layers to keep warm than most people. But with the right winter gear, you can play all sorts of reindeer games with your kids outdoors. As silly as it is to make snow angels or have a snowball fight, you can burn some serious calories. Sledding downhill then hiking back up will work those hamstrings and glutes while pumping up your heart rate. And old-fashioned ice skating can be a graceful (or clumsy, depending on your skill) way to work out, indoor or al fresco.
If all else fails… play the Wii:
My family and I have hopped, punched and jumped our way to giddy exhaustion playing the Wii. I’m surprised at how sore I can be after swatting a virtual ball in Wii Tennis. And it’s FUN! There are plenty of games that will keep you moving. Two you might want to try: Wii Outdoor Challenge, about $49.99 on Amazon.com or Just Dance 3 also available at Amazon.com for $34.99.
Above all, remember that exercising and staying active does not have to be torturous. Make it fun and your kids are more likely to keep doing it into adulthood. You’re not only getting fit together, you’re making memories!