Keeping Active While Kept Indoors

Keeping Active While Kept Indoors… February is heart health awareness month. – Kimberly Adamson MS, RN, CPNP

We, here in New England, have had the pleasure of Mother Nature dumping our first snow storm on us November 16, 2018 and the second was followed within days. This blissful white stuff left playgrounds, grass and sidewalks covered with ice and snow. Which means our free means of exercise has been put on hold and come to an abrupt stop. So now what? How do we get our 30 minutes of sweating to keep our hearts and heads healthy for the next few months? Well, we find a way!

February has always and will always be a near and dear month to my heart, not only because I get to celebrate a few special family birthdays this month but also because it is also heart health awareness month. Not just adults have heart disease, 1 in 100 children are born with a congenital heart defect (CHD) and this too is considered heart disease. Many of us think heart disease and think this is what happens to adults after years of living a sedentary and unhealthy life style. However, CHD’s are far too common and they affect 1% of births per year and are the MOST COMMON type of birth defect. Some CHD’s are linked to genetics but most have no known case. (APP.org). To learn more about local area CHD groups to help support your heart warrior, heart angel or heart family please visit heartwarriorfoundation.org or jmbigheart.org.

But it’s not just exercise we should pay attention to while we all hibernate for the winter. We should all take caution to what we put into our bodies to fuel the machine. A good rule of thumb for all of is to live by is the 5-2-1 rule. This is a total of 5 combined fruits and vegetable servings per day, two hours or less of sitting around and either watching TV, using a cell phone, playing video games or just being sedentary and the one is for a solid hour of sweating most days of the week. Let’s all be realistic an hour is a long time so we can settle on 30 minutes, but again, most days of the week.

Now, Let’s Get Moving… We should keep in mind the “gym” can be pricey and tough to get to for kids and most parents as well. So how can we keep the kids and ourselves active during the winter hibernation months? Think movement… climbing stairs in your home, on line exercise videos, cable exercise videos and good old fashioned body weight and functional exercises. Body weight being using your body as your weight… push-ups, squats, lunges are just to name a few exercises that are good resistance body weight exercises. An excellent cardio workout is a jump rope. Attempt to jump rope for 3 minutes straight, I guarantee you that even the best conditioned athletes get a bit tired from this. Soup cans or canned vegetables work well to add a bit of weight training because purchasing weights can get pricey as most cost about a dollar per pound.

If you have home “gym” equipment dust it off, take the clothes off of it and use it. I know it is hard to get motivated to use machines at home but if you make a plan and stick to it most days or includes friends or family into your workout routine it will be easier to stick to your plan since you good friends and family will hold you “accountable” to exercise with them. These are my favorite kinds of friends J.

Remember that treadmills, weight machines, elliptical machines and rowing machines can be very dangerous for children especially if children use the machines unsupervised. The treadmill can seem like a very fun concept for a child but if they fall off they can get hurt and get also get terrible burns to their skin from the fast moving belts should they fall.

Now that we have focused a bit on how to stay warm and active, don’t forget there is always bundling up and being active as well. Most towns and cities have free ice skating rinks that are open to the public (be sure to wear a helmet if you are a new skater or participating in a hockey game). You can also go ice skating in doors. There is also snow shoes, sledding, incline skiing and cross country skiing. If the cold and snow is not your thing… I get it. However, you would be surprised how much of a sweat you will work up climbing up and down a sledding hill for an hour or two and kids LOVE to play in the snow.

Don’t forget about your pets this hibernation season, they too need exercise and most dogs love to play in the snow. So take your pet out during the next snowstorm and go for a family walk and then you can family shovel the walkways and driveways for some extra fun. Snow blowers should not be used by children ever and walking/running in the streets can be dangerous during or after a snow storm because plow truck are wide and at times they may have difficulty seeing pedestrians.

Be safe, stay active and have fun this winter! Don’t forget to wear your red and purple the week of February 7-14, 2019 to show your support of CHD awareness week.

If there is any interest in spring family running/couch to 5k please e mail me at feedback@pediatricswest.com This may be a great introduction to having a Pediatrics West family team train for a local 5k.

Kimberly Adamson MS, RN, CPNP

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