Staying active during a usual Minnesota winter was challenging enough for families. Add in the COVID-19 pandemic and it can be even more difficult.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends kids 6 years and older get at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day. Here with tips to help families stay active during this COVID winter is: Dr. Gigi Chawla, chief of general pediatrics at Children’s Minnesota.
Tips to stay active during a COVID-winter
How does staying active and getting outside help kids?
Being active keeps a child’s body and mind healthy in many ways. Here are many proven benefits of exercise and activity:
- Physically healthier: Increased outdoor time is linked with improved motor development and lower obesity rates in kids.
- Engaged in their learning: Studies have found that children who spent more time in nature exploring has improved learning outcomes.
- Positive behavior: Research has found that when kids spend time in natural settings, they had less anger and aggression.
- Mentally healthier: Stress and depression are lower for people who spend time in nature. Children show an increased focus and reduced symptoms of for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
How can parents encourage kids to stay active in a COVID-winter?
If you haven’t already, this is the year to embrace winter and get outside! COVID-19 has cooped us all up and we need to find ways to get up and get out of the house – no matter the season.
Here are different ideas to stay active:
Play outside in the snow, go sledding, skiing or snowboarding. There are places you can rent snowshoes or cross country skis too! Don’t forget to remind your kids to wear a helmet during these activities.
But, it’s important to make sure your kids are staying safe if they’re playing outside. They should dress in warm, waterproof layers. Their skin should be covered with hats, mittens, face masks and/or goggles.
There are also ways to stay active inside too! Fun (and useful) tip: Turn household chores into activities. Vacuuming, sweeping, dusting and cleaning closets can all help boost kids’ heart rates.
Winter sports tips
Sports are back in Minnesota and it’s a great way for kids to stay active in the winter!
Wear a mask
It’s important kids stay safe, even during sports. Wearing a mask is a mandatory part of participating in sports. Wearing a mask helps slow the spread of COVID-19 and can help protect your child from getting it. Tips for choosing the right mask for your child during sports:
- Breathable material: Pick a mask for your child that’s made of breathable material like cotton.
- Absorbs moisture: Preferably pick a mask that is made to absorb moisture. That will help keep it from getting wet. When masks get wet, they become less effective.
- Proper fit: Make sure it fits properly so it’s not falling off frequently when they’re with their teammates.
- Avoid vents: Masks with vents do not offer proper protection.
Even if your child has asthma, it is still required your child wears a mask during sports. Ensuring your child wears their mask is the best way to protect them, your family and the community.