How to Keep Your Child Athlete Healthy This Winter
When the temperature drops low in winter, it’s easy for parents and child athletes to want to stay in, snuggle down, and become one with the couch. There’s nothing wrong with a good winter video session every now and then, but staying healthy requires getting up and moving too!
To help our ActivStars family stay active, happy, and healthy, we’ve got some tips for what you can do easily and what to be careful of all winter long.
The best tip for your child, whether they’re a sports fanatic or just enjoy the occasional game, is to play all winter long. Look for sports and opportunities indoors or out to help your child play and stay fit.
For older children, encourage them to work out at home to avoid the cold. You can let them use their own body weight for exercise (think push-ups) or pick up some light resistance gear. There are plenty of free and low-cost options, and this can keep your child healthy if they don’t want to go outside where it’s chilly.
Here are some of our favorite exercises for the winter months:
- Lift weights, stretch, or do push-ups while watching a show or playing a video game.
- Dance! You’ll get a full-body workout and have plenty of fun. YouTube has great videos that teach you the latest dance moves, making it easy to treat this as group fun.
- Yoga and meditation. Stretching is a great way to keep your muscles, heart, and lungs healthy. Pair it with relaxation or meditation to reduce overall stress and anxiety. Remember that cold months can lead to increases in depression for some people.
- Slow down karate forms or learn some basic tai chi to work your muscles by controlling each movement. It’s a terrific way to work on balance and improve breathing too.
- If you have a covered walkway, driveway, or access to a space like a tennis or basketball court, try jumping rope. It’ll work out the whole body and give you a boost to rhythm and timing that’s useful in many sports.
- Walk it out. A brisk walk is a straightforward way for the whole family to stay active and healthy. You can make it a game or contest by using everyone’s smartphones as step counters and see who gets the most steps. Plus, a fast-paced walk can burn 300 or more calories per hour.
- Enjoy the season! There’s plenty of things you can do to have fun during the winter that still gives you a workout. Building a fire can burn 80 calories an hour, while shoveling snow gets close to 200. Even a good snowball fight (whether you use real snow or the fun scrunchy balls for sale) can burn about 100 calories each hour.
There are lots to do in the winter to stay active. At the same time, you should also focus on being safe while you play. Let’s look at how to keep you and your child healthy this winter.
General Health Tips
It seems like everyone gets a cold during the winter, but there are steps you can take to reduce this risk. First, keep everyone home when sick because you don’t want to catch a cold from someone else or get other people sick. Second, wash your hands the way doctors tell you to — a handy guide for little ones here. Also, teach children to cough or sneeze into tissues or the inside of their elbow. This prevents the spread of germs.
Remember that you can’t get the flu from a flu shot! So, it’s a beautiful way to protect your child against very severe and dangerous illness. Another common misconception to tackle is winter sunburn. Your child can definitely get sunburns during the winter, especially when it reflects off of snow or water. Protect your child’s skin and eyes during winter activities.
If you’ll be spending a lot of time indoors, please get a carbon monoxide detector for your home. It might just save your child’s life.
Winter-Time Warnings to Watch
Wintry weather can change and become dangerous very quickly, especially if you’re in the mountains, deserts, or an area where it snows heavily. Always check your local weather conditions and the wind chill so that you’re dressing appropriately.
For smaller children, the best recommendation is to give them one more layer than you are comfortable wearing. Layers are great for exercise because you can take some off as you warm up, so you don’t get overheated.
Bundle up a little extra if humidity is high or there’s a lot of wind. Remember that at a wind chill level of below minus 18 F (minus 28 C), frostbite can occur on exposed skin in 30 minutes or less.
If someone has been outside for a long time, always check on them. Danger signs for hypothermia include intense shivering, fatigue, loss of coordination, and slurred speech. Exercising outside in cold, rainy, or snowy weather increases the risk of hypothermia. Further protect everyone by ensuring they’ve got warm covers for feet, hands, ears, and the top of the head.
You’ve been a great parent all year, and we’re very happy to celebrate the end of 2019 with you. May you and your family have a wonderful holiday season and we’ll see you in the New Year!