With the change to the winter season comes some of the most beautiful scenery the region provides. However, with fewer daylight hours and unpleasant weather conditions, winter can make it more difficult than ever to find the motivation to get active.
Despite its challenges, there are plenty of reasons to make the extra effort to ensure your kids stay active through the winter months.
We’ve compiled a few of the most important:
1. Mental health boosts.
Many people, including children and adolescents, risk experiencing some degree of seasonal-related mood disorders (seasonal affective disorder, or SAD) that can result from diminished daylight, poor weather, and reduced activity. In addition, recent world events have increased instances of child and adolescent depression and anxiety. Staying active produces feel-good hormones known as endorphins that can help combat symptoms such as fatigue, depressed mood, and sleep issues. Better yet, getting active outdoors can provide an extra dose of Vitamin D, thought to be central to preventing SAD.
2. Physical health benefits.
Regardless of age, getting active and increasing the heart rate for at least 30 minutes per day helps to maintain many aspects of physical health. For kids, this means maintaining a healthy heart, building stronger bones and muscles, and promoting a proper metabolism that will adequately burn the calories consumed. Staying active through the winter ensures your child continues to receive these key health benefits year-round.
3. Brain health.
According to numerous studies, exercise is just as beneficial to the brain as it is to the body. Regular exercise appears to increase the size of the hippocampus, a key area for memory and learning. In addition, exercise also seems to boost other brain-based aspects important for your child’s success, like focus, concentration, and sleep.
4. Maintained stamina.
Kids, like most people, are at their most active during the warmer months, when outdoor sports and neighborhood play are a part of everyday life. However, it’s all too easy to let kids fall into a slump during the winter, which increases their chances for injury once outdoor activities resume in the spring. Staying active through the colder months helps maintain stamina and prevent injuries down the road.
Winter can make encouraging your kids to stay active a bit more challenging. To help, be sure to provide a variety of activities and plenty of opportunities for activity – whether they prefer indoor sports, outdoor winter activities, or even just running and playing. Keeping it fun and staying consistent will help your kids stay healthy through the long months ahead.