By Calan Landreth and David Engle

In areas that actually still get cold throughout the winter, staying active becomes more of a challenge. After all, why get off the couch when you’re snuggled under a warm blanket and sitting by a crackling fire? For kids, it’s a whole lot easier doing that while scrolling on their phones, watching videos on their tablets, or playing video games with their friends online. No need to layer two pairs of pants, three shirts, four pairs of socks, a hat, a scarf, gloves to stay indoors, right?

The problem is, it’s so important for kids to keep moving and stay active, even when the weather isn’t fully cooperative or conducive to outdoor play. In the United States, specifically, childhood obesity has become a very serious issue. Consider these statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

For children and adolescents ages 2-19 in 2017-2018:

  • The prevalence of obesity was 19.3% and affected about 14.4 million children and adolescents.
  • Obesity prevalence was 13.4% among 2- to 5-year-olds, 20.3% among 6- to 11-year-olds, and 21.2% among 12- to 19-year-olds.
  • Obesity prevalence was 25.6% among Hispanic children, 24.2% among non-Hispanic Black children, 16.1% among non-Hispanic White children, and 8.7% among non-Hispanic Asian children.

These are frightening numbers that, if not corrected sooner rather than later, indicate many of these kids will grow up to be unhealthy and at risk for conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and others.

With that in mind, we’ve got some fun ways to keep children active during the winter. But keep in mind, these approaches can be used all year long, regardless of weather! And when the weather does cooperate, we definitely encourage kids to get some outdoor activity in also (walking, running, shooting hoops, a wiffle ball game, soccer, climbing on a jungle gym, or even games of tag), as being outside has been shown to help reduce stress and build vitamin D levels in the body.

But what about when you need to stay indoors? We spoke with Live Online Health Teacher for Bridgeway, Calan Landreth, who shared some easy things you can do to get your kids up and moving during the winter.

  1. Create a space inside that is dedicated to exercising. It doesn’t have to be an entire room, just enough space where kids can stretch out, do some exercises, and be comfortable.
  2. Put a plan together for consistent fitness in that space. This plan should match current fitness experience level and whatever equipment (if any) you have available. There’s an endless amount of fitness apps (WOD Generator is especially good) that will auto-generate workouts for you based on what you have available in your home. This primarily includes, as should be the primary focus, bodyweight exercises.
  3. Take advantage of YouTube workout videos. There are tons of content creators online that are very motivating and have created workout structures to follow. Recommended:  Little Sports and Kid Fit Go.
  4. Create a nutritional plan for your child. Putting effort into having a healthy nutritional plan to follow is often a good motivator to exercise as well. Nutrition and exercise synergize with each other as one often motivates the other.
  5. Make indoor activity a class period during your school day. By building exercise into each school day, you’re emphasizing the importance of activity and ensuring that your child is getting enough exercise to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Staying active indoors doesn’t require a home gym with a room full of fancy and expensive exercise equipment. All it takes is some energy, motivation, and desire to stay healthy. With these tools, your kids have plenty of options at their disposal to be active at home throughout the winter. And who knows? They might enjoy theIr routine so much that they commit to it all year long! 

About Calan Landreth

Calan is a Live Online Health Teacher with Bridgeway Academy. He holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Kinesiology, as well as teaching credentials in Science and Physical Education. Calan has taught for the past 12 years in a mix of online, private, and public schools. He also coaches football, track and field, and strength and conditioning.