How to Keep Kids Active in the Winter

Indoor Family-Friendly Workouts

It’s no secret that with the pandemic, lockdowns, and spending more time inside our homes, most people (including our kids) have become more sedentary.

Under normal conditions, youth-athletes can often struggle during the winter to maintain physical activity until the warm weather returns and they can venture outdoors. At times, even as a trainer, I can struggle as the winter months set in!

It’s tempting, especially in places like Michigan, to stay cuddled under some blankets to stay cozy and warm. But, what’s another way to warm your body? Get sweating! 

I work with young athletes daily to motivate and empower them by building their confidence through movement. Young kids naturally want to be active – our bodies are made to move.  Providing opportunities to step away from screens and get oxygen flowing throughout our bodies has been proven beneficial in many ways for both children and adults.  

Changing your kids’ mindset when it comes to exercise is a great way to encourage them to move without a fight. And, YOU have the power to be an excellent role model for your children in creating a healthy lifestyle.

Turning Excuses into Routine:

NO SPACE. 

To stay active in the winter, you don’t need equipment or a facility. Working out indoors can be as simple as moving the couch and coffee table out of the way and using your living room as your workspace. 

NO TIME. 

Look at your family’s schedule and see what could be adjusted or even combine activities with the workouts. They could do the workout with the TV (jumping jacks during commercial breaks) or music playing in the background if that motivates them or find ways they can multitask with their workouts. Make it a positive experience.

LACK OF MOTIVATION.
This is where YOU come in. Make it fun and set a positive example.  Get the kids excited about the workout, and do the movement with them.  Winter months naturally make this challenge even harder. 

How to get your kid excited about the workout:

  • Create a routine within your schedule! – Consistency and expectations help to minimize pushback – create a movement routine with your family and hold each other accountable. Many of the kids I work with have a weekly appointment with me so we’re able to set expectations and goals, knowing when we will meet next. 

Ideas:  After-dinner family walk / Weekly adventure (change up the activity!) 

  • Make it a family event! Not only is working out with others more fun and engaging, but it keeps everyone motivated and accountable. Kids thrive in the presence of role models. Doing the workouts with your kids/family means that you are also checking off your workout box for the day!  Tie movement into your other activities: take the stairs instead of the elevator, add push ups to the board games you play, or simply walk to school/other locations when you can.
  • Let the kids create the workout! It’s so important to give kids the autonomy to build and create something on their own. Let them choose exercises that they enjoy, know how to do, and feel confident performing. That helps them to establish a positive attitude towards working out. 
  • Make it fun! Whoever said fitness can’t be fun has left the chat. Make the workout into a game, use timers, or make it a competition!

Card Workout – all you need for this workout is a deck of playing cards!  Click HERE to download the full Card Workout with directions and a blank template so your kids can create their own workout!

Use Timers – It allows kids to distract their brains to focus on a fun goal. 

Examples: 30 seconds work / 30 seconds rest  OR 

“Let’s see how long it takes you to run 10 laps.”

Competition – Brother vs. sister, Parents vs. Kids

Winter Exercise Ideas for Kids:

Lean into the weather : Sledding + Ice Skating + Skiing + Snowshoeing 

+ Build a Snow Fort 

Create an Indoor Obstacle Course

Join a Local Indoor Organized Sport

Go on an Outdoor Winter Hike with a Scavenger Hunt

Finding ways to empower (young women in particular) kids and motivate them to build their confidence is my passion.  Please email me (Coach O) with any questions.  For more information on my services and scheduling workouts, please visit my website or follow me on Instagram.