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Keep Kids Active in Winter

Sedentary is a no-no even if the weather is too cold for outdoor play

SATURDAY, Jan. 17, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- The weather outside may be frightful, but that doesn't mean it's OK for your children to sit around and play video games all day.

During the winter, kids burn about half as many calories a day as they did in the summer, according to a Montana State University expert. But with childhood obesity skyrocketing, it's not a good idea to let your children develop sedentary habits. Children should exercise at least 20 to 30 minutes three to five times a week, says the Nemours Foundation.

If the snow's piling up outside, how can you keep them moving?

Winter sports are an obvious answer. If there's snow, get the kids out to play. Sledding, building snow forts and throwing snowballs all count as exercise. Skiing, ice skating and snowboarding are also great activities if your children are interested in them.

There are also plenty of activities the kids can do indoors or in the garage or basement. Turn off the TV and encourage your children to:

  • Jump rope
  • Play hopscotch
  • Dance
  • Do jumping jacks
  • Challenge each other -- who can hop longest on one foot?

Don't forget to check out what your local recreation department has available , too -- they may offer swimming, indoor tennis or indoor basketball for youngsters.

More information

To read more about keeping kids active in the winter, go to the Children's Hospital of St. Louis.

SOURCES: Montana State University - Bozeman; Nemours Foundation
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