5 Tips For Winter Family Fitness


5 Tips For Winter Family Fitness

Skiing with mother

In our last post, we told you why winter is the season when many of us put on a little extra padding. In this post, we want to talk more about what you can do about it.

Family providers tell us that family fitness is an important issue—especially if we’re a little overweight! They also tell us what type of exercise will be safe if we struggle with a specific health issue. Make sure you check with your provider before you begin an exercise regimen.

It’s vital for the health of your family that you have an effective winter fitness plan. This can be as simple as playing in the snow or swimming at the gym. It’s important to develop family fitness habits when your children are younger. Training together for a run, race, or marathon are great ways to unify your family and promote healthy habits.

Here are some excellent ways to keep exercising while it’s cold outside!

Exercise Videos:

Exercise videos are a wonderful way to keep fit. There are videos for every level of athlete, from very beginner to pro. Parents can easily turn these videos into a game with their children. Not only will your house be full of giggles as you watch the kids try to follow along, you will get the added benefit of working out all of that boundless childhood energy!

  • Improves flexibility and mobility

  • Strengthens muscles

  • Calories burned will vary according to the fitness program performed

  • Ask your family doctor what type of fitness video is recommended for your current fitness.

Hit The Trails:

If there’s snow on the ground, all the better! Lifting your feet through snow heightens your workout. It’s important to stay warm and hydrated on these snowy excursions with the family, so bring along a water bottle to share. These magical winter walks can be a wonderful way to spark conversation and bask in the beauty of nature together. You’ll burn an average of 100 calories per mile, but this will increase the deeper the snow and the faster you walk.

  • Improves endurance

  • Tones the muscles of your legs, bum and core

  • Calories burned will vary from 100-300, depending on distance and depth of snow. Deeper snow takes more energy.

Gym Time:

The benefit of a gym such as a YMCA or other large facility that has basketball courts, racquetball courts, weights, and a pool is that there is something for every member of the family. We’d encourage you to work out as a group. For example, play a family game of basketball, or teach your littlest kids how to swim in the gym pool. Play games that require high activity and exertion. Perhaps father and sons can hire a trainer for an afternoon and be shown how to use all of the weightlifting equipment.

Because of the increased possibility of injury in a fitness gym, discuss with your physician or a professional trainer what types of activities will be best for you.

  • Working through the exercise equipment of a gym works out muscles that may normally be skipped over by simply walking or running.

  • Tones body

  • Promotes heightened endurance

  • Calories burned will again vary according to the type of exercise and the size of the individual. Here’s an average range of calories burned

    • Basketball: 350-650

    • Weightlifting 30 min: 150-350

    • Swimming laps 1 hour: 425 – 625

    • Racquetball 1 hour: 510-760

Snow Sports:

Winter fitness activities can be fun. Winter offers a wonderful assortment of exciting winter sports, such as skiing, ice skating, snowboarding, snowshoeing and ever so much more. If your family needs some inspiration for getting out in the cold, watch a couple hours of the Winter Olympic Games!

These family activities are a little more difficult to work into a weekday, but they make excellent workouts for the weekend. Before hopping on your snowboard, however, remember any cautions or suggestions from your physician regarding the possibility of injury or strain.

  • Improves balance

  • Improves agility

  • Tones muscles

  • Calories burned:

    • Cross Country skiing: 490-740

    • Downhill skiing/snowboarding: 310-460

    • Ice skating: 510-760

Sports and Exercise Gaming:

In this day and age, there seems to be no better way to involve the kids in winter fitness than by interacting with something on a screen. Taking advantage of our tech-savvy kids, enticing them to exercise by playing competitive sports video games. This will not only provide a healthy dose of exercise, it will also be valuable family time as you play against and with each other in bowling, fencing, golf, and a myriad of other options. Benefits:

  • Improves coordination

  • Improves mobility and flexibility

  • Tones muscles

  • Helps concentration and focus

  • Fitness video games often indicate how many calories are burned in each of their exercise programs.

The obesity rates in the United States continues to rise. Not only are adults succumbing to this health problem, medical practices are also seeing a significant increase in childhood obesity. Being overweight poses many health threats, including diabetes, risk of cardiovascular disease and other debilitating conditions. Take control of your family’s weight and begin to practice healthy winter fitness with your whole family.

Questions? Request an appointment with one of our Family Medicine providers for help and guidance in finding appropriate exercise options and managing your family’s health.