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Great ways to get your kids active this winter!


In winter we all know the problem of not being able to go outside as much to play or get active. GKA has come up with lots of great ways you can keep your family active this winter.

How about a trip to your local gym or sports club? The great thing about these facilities is that they supply a wide range of activities, classes and equipment that everyone in the family can take pleasure in. To find out a list of local clubs in your area you can email me for a list or look up the yellow pages in your phonebook.

Go and catch some sunshine, head for the nearest park, take a hike, get everyone together and take a bike ride or stay home and have a family day of doing house chores – but make them fun – put up a reward for the person that does their chore the fastest or in the funniest way to get kids interested!

If your children like team sports, winter is a perfect time to check out your community's sports clubs such as basketball, volleyball, soccer and karate clubs. If there is a tennis club nearby, take advantage of it. All of these sports can be enjoyed all year round, indoors or out.

For families with children in there teens who wouldn't spend so much time with the family, I recommend putting the emphasis on having some form of exercise in their daily activities. Remind them to take stairs instead of elevators, and to try and walk places instead of taking the car, and encourage them to stay active with their friends.

Children learn exercise habits from their parents; they also pursue their parents' eating habits. Gaining extra weight in the winter can be avoided in adults and children. Families should be encouraged to rethink social activities in winter as times for activities and not just occasions to eat. Then every gathering of friends and family won't be an excuse to overeat. Instead, plan a friendly touch rugby match, a walk around your neighbourhood or even play indoor games.

If you feed your children well before the party and keep them busy with fun activities at the party, they won't spend the entire time snacking.

Even days in front of the television can be filled with healthy snacks (instead of potato chips or popcorn) and activity breaks. During commercial breaks and at half times of sports games, your family can turn down the television and dance around the house to your favourite music, or play a game hid and go seek around the house. Of course you will feel more like doing this sort of thing when you aren't weighed down by fatty snacks. Lighten up with low fat snacks, fruit and vegetables and drink plenty of water.

The weather outside may be horrible, but that doesn't mean it is good enough for your children to sit around and play video games all day.

During winter, children burn about half as many calories a day as they do in summer, according to University experts. But with childhood obesity around the world raising dramatically it is not a good idea to let your children develop inactive behaviours.

Children should exercise for at least 30 minutes, at least 3-4 times a week, all year round.

How do we get our children outside when it is cold in winter?

Winter sports are an obvious answer. Soccer, Basketball, Volleyball, Rugby, Tennis and indoor sports such as badminton and squash are great fun. If there is snow where you live get the children outside to do some sledding, build snow forts and throw snowballs as a family. These are all forms of exercise. Skiing, ice skating and snowboarding are also great activities if your children are interested in them.

There are also plenty of activities that children can do indoors or in the garage. Turn off the TV (otherwise they will get distracted and not want to exercise) and encourage your children to:

  • Jump rope
  • Play hopscotch
  • Dance
  • Do jumping jacks
  • Challenge each other -- who can hop longest on one foot, jump the highest or farthest?

These activities are fantastic fun for the whole family, if your children see you being active it will encourage them to do so as well.

Get Active is a brand new independent initiative in New Zealand with the purpose of helping children and their families! Our aim is to help fight child obesity in New Zealand and get New Zealand children off the couch and active! At www.GetKidsActive.com you will find articles, recipes, tips, suggestions, competitions, and a live chat where parents can share ideas and inspirations, a photo gallery, and even a shop!