Get out and play, everyday!

Winter is an especially hard time to get out for a run or go to the gym. Winter in Alaska is an especially hard time for anyone who finds the darkness difficult on emotions. Fortunately, studies have shown that getting outside to workout in the winter may have more benefits than just getting in shape.

When we work out in the great outdoors there are fewer crowds than at the gym and plenty of open fresh space. This provides a clear place for your mind, and is a great way to release stress during a lunch break walk. When we spend a little time soaking in daylight, our bodies produce more Serotonin, which can reduce aggression, affect sleep patterns, increase sex drive, regulate body temperature, and lower blood pressure.

Sun exposure also allows our bodies to better absorb nutrients like Vitamin D- allowing our bones to grow strong and healthy. 

Now that we have ourselves covered, lets talk about our children.

From the Play Every Day initiative:

Why Physical Activity is Important?

Physically active children tend to be physically active adults and a lifetime of physical activity can lead to better health. Parents can help their children be more physically active by making physical activity an important part of family life. Limit television and computer time. Make it a priority to spend time with your child by going outside, walking, sledding, playing catch, building a snowman or fort, biking, swimming, playing at the park, and even doing chores together. Children learn from their parents the joy and fun of physical activity by doing it together. Everyone reaps the rewards and benefits of a healthier, happier family.

Regular Physical Activity:

  • Helps reduce the risk of developing obesity.
  • Helps reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers.
  • Helps build and maintain healthy bones and muscles.
  • Promotes psychological well-being.
  • Reduces feelings of depression and anxiety.
  • And may help improve students’ academic performance, including
    • academic achievement and grades
    • factors that influence academic achievement, such as concentration and attentiveness in the classroom.

One Hour of Play, Every Day

To feel great and maintain a healthy weight, children need at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Physical activity is anything that gets your heart pumping or makes you stronger. This recommendation comes from health leaders at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. For more information about these recommendations, visit Physical Activity Guidelines Toolkit website or Youth Physical Activity Guidelines Toolkit Fact Sheet .

What Can You Do?

To help your child hit the 60-minute mark, come up with fun ways to add a little bit more activity for the whole family. It doesn’t matter what it looks like – an organized soccer match or a game of tag with mom or dad in the park. Finding ways to add a little more activity to every day can mean big health benefits for your children. Try one of these activities for your family.

 

 

Resources:

http://www.enjoying-the-spirit-filled-life.com/Sun-Exposure.html

http://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/PlayEveryDay/pages/60-Minutes-a-Day.aspx

http://www.wsj.com/articles/why-winter-is-a-great-time-to-exerciseoutside-1421726457