Get your kids off the couch: ideas for indoor exercise

couch potato family

Let’s face it, it’s hard to move when it’s cold , and it’s freezing at my home.  I believe today’s high is 20 degrees Fahrenheit.  Now while this may not deter younger children from bundling up and going sledding, teen couch potatoes are busy whining that it’s “too cold.”  So there they sit.

What’s the secret to keeping them active in the winter months?  Have them schedule an activity, and be an example yourself.

Ideas for teens (and you) to do when it’s cold outside:

  • Have a 15-minute dance party
  • Have a Wii contest
  • Try swimming (indoors please!)
  • Dust off the treadmill or stationary bike in the basement and GET ON IT
  • Play ping-pong
  • Do a few chores
  • Jump rope
  • Jog during T.V. commercials
  • Pull out some “little kid games” such as hopscotch, hula-hoop or Twister
  • Let each child in your house choose an activity for everyone to try

 

Teens, like everyone else, need exercise to stay healthy.  Staff from the Mayo Clinic recommend kids ages 6-17 years should have one hour of moderate exercise each day.  Exercise can help improve mood (through the release of endorphins), improve sleep and therefore attention (critical with finals coming up), and improve cardiovascular endurance. Those spring sports really ARE just around the corner.

 

Here are some numbers to get the kids moving:  All activities are based on 20 minutes and a teen who weighs 110 pounds.  The number of calories burned depends on weight.  If your teen weighs more, he will burn a few more calories, if he weighs less, he’ll burn a few less.  Below the table are links to some free and quick calorie calculators on the web so your teen can check it out for him self.  For those attached to their phones, there are web apps too.

 

ACTIVITY

CALORIES USED

Shooting Basketballs

75

Pickup Basketball game/practice

100

Biking on stationary bike

116

Dancing

75

Hopscotch

67

Ice Skating

116

Jogging in place

133

Juggling

67

Jumping Rope

166

Ping Pong

67

Rock Climbing

183

Running at 5 mph

133

Sledding

116

Treadmill at 4 mph

67

Vacuuming

58

 

 

What’s the worst that can happen?  You’ll have a more fit, better rested, and happier teen!  Or at least you’ll have a cleaner home!

 

Try these activity calculators:

 

http://primusweb.com/fitnesspartner/calculat.htm

www.caloriesperhour.com/index_burn.php

http://www.caloriecontrol.org/healthy-weight-tool-kit/lighten-up-and-get-moving

 

Deborah Stack, PT, DPT, PCS

With nearly 20 years of experience as a physical therapist, guest blogger Dr. Stack heads The Pediatric Therapy Center of Bucks County in Pennsylvania www.buckscountypeds.com. She holds both masters and doctoral degrees in physical therapy from Thomas Jefferson University.

© 2011, 2013, updated 2015 Two Peds in a Pod®

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2 Comments

  • Reply Cara September 15, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    Love this! Thank you for the great tips. I would love it if kids were into vacuuming but I guess for now we will try the spontaneous 15-minute dance party idea.

  • Reply Therese Collins May 14, 2019 at 2:17 am

    Awesome tips! Thanks for sharing this one! My daughters love playing as moms (which is pretty cute) and they might want to experience how a real mom does it, right? I could challenge them, maybe.

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