Fitness Friday: Using Family Fitness to Beat Holiday Stress

by Siobhan Mangan
bigstock-Family-with-kids-snowman

‘Tis the Season for celebrating the holidays with your loved ones, decorating, baking, and don’t forget family fitness! December is National Stress Free Family Holiday Month. In order to avoid getting all “wrapped” up in the stress of the holidays and becoming a couch potato this winter, here are a few ideas to stay active and have fun at the same time:

1. Make holiday shopping an active experience. You and your child can take the opportunity to walk in the mall instead of using the stroller. Cold or rainy weather shouldn’t be an excuse! Remember, if you can’t find a parking spot close to the store, don’t get stressed! Use the walk as an added cardiovascular/endurance workout.

2. If you are a fan of winter sports or want to try something new, how about taking ice-skating lessons or going sledding? Find the biggest hill in your neighborhood and carry your own sled up or race your family and friends to the top. How creative can you be? Push some heavy snow together to make your version of Frosty the Snowman or make your very own igloo. Don’t forget to bundle up and have a blast.

3. Snowshoeing is a low impact alternative to skiing and is a great cardiovascular workout. Remember to drink plenty of water because you will work up a sweat!

4. In case there is not much snow this winter, you can bring your kids to the bowling alley. Carrying a six pound ball really works on your upper body strength. If you are not the most skilled bowler and prefer to throw the ball between your legs, you will be working on those squats!

5. A hot new activity is indoor rock climbing, which works on increasing flexibility, strength, and coordination. Reach for new heights; you never know the skills you can develop.

6. Don’t forget many local gyms and YMCA’s have indoor swimming pools that are open year-round. It’s a good way to keep up your skills from last summer and/or practice your fish-like skills to be ready for 2013.

7. Are you a Knicks, Giants or Redbulls fan? Pretend to be your favorite basketball, football, or hockey player and have a shootout with your friends and family.

8. Prefer staying indoors? How about creating your own obstacle course with pillows, empty gift boxes, and stepping stools? You can even incorporate jumping jacks, jumping rope, and your best yoga pose, such as an angel or reindeer. Make sure to keep a watchful eye to keep your “indoor playground” safe.

Although the holidays can be busy, remember to take time to enjoy the company of your loved ones, get enough sleep, and try to substitute a healthy snack for all the sugar and cookies.

Siobhan Mangan is physical therapist at the CA Technologies Pediatric Rehabilitation Center at Hospital for Special Surgery.

Topics: Rehabilitation and Fitness
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The information provided in this blog by HSS and our affiliated physicians is for general informational and educational purposes, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual problem you may have. This information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a qualified health care provider who is familiar with the unique facts about your condition and medical history. You should always consult your health care provider prior to starting any new treatment, or terminating or changing any ongoing treatment. Every post on this blog is the opinion of the author and may not reflect the official position of HSS. Please contact us if we can be helpful in answering any questions or to arrange for a visit or consult.

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