4 Genius, Family-Friendly Ways to Getting Active despite the Inversion

For many of us, January brings with it a huge case of cabin fever, as the inversion and cold weather may leave us trapped indoors. But Melanie Jewkes, a busy mom as well as an Extension Associate Professor with the Food $ense Program at Utah State University, stopped by to share the following tips for jumping into an active lifestyle, despite the gloomy weather.

"Many New Year`s Resolutions include getting or staying active, yet our cold winter days (many with poor air quality on the Wasatch Front) put a hamper on those resolutions. Here are my 4 ways to get or remain active during these sometimes sluggish winter days.

1) Think outside the gym. If you are a regular gym or fitness center - awesome! Keep that up. Others might not have the resources or the ability to take the entire family. Consider where you could safely be active during the cold:
a. Indoor shopping centers (they often open doors early for 'walkers')
b. Gather a group together and check with a local church or community center for an active play hour where children can bring scooters or small bikes, and all can walk around inside a large, open room or hall.
c. If you have young children, toddler or preschool story time at local libraries usually include active songs and movement.

2) Think outside! Though cold, there are many fun and beautiful ways to be active in the winter. Remember, as a Scandinavian saying goes, 'there is no bad weather, only bad clothing.' So, bundle everyone up and go outside for 15-30 minutes (or longer). Come home to hot cocoa or tea, or a good hearty soup.
a. Sledding at a local hill or up the canyon
b. Walking or hiking
c. Play at the park
d. Tennis, pickle ball, basketball (if courts are cleared).

3) Think inside. There are many ways to stay active inside your home.
a. Turn on the music and dance.
b. Active video games; play as a family.
c. Search for family-friendly free workout videos on Youtube or Vimeo, or kid-friendly websites
d. Hold a contest with your family.
i. Get a map, and convert active time into miles. 15 minutes of active time = 1 mile. 'Walk' across the state, or across America.
ii. Use active time as a way to 'earn' more active time. Such as, if every family member is active for 30 minutes a day for 6 days in a row, go swimming next week.
iii. Hold challenges with kinesthetic exercises (push up challenges, plank challenges, sit as a chair against the wall, etc.).

4) Think bargain. Look for activities in your area that are free or low cost.
a. Zoo or museum free days.
b. Swimming at local indoor swimming pool.
c. Ice skating.
d. Free entrance days to national parks.

For more ideas on ways you and your family can stay active in your area around the state, check out createbetterhealth.usu.edu or follow us on social media @utahfoodsense.

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