Don't Let Kids Hibernate From Healthy Activity

January 8, 2015

Dr. Nick Greiner will be providing sports medicine services

at Mercy Kids Mid Rivers starting Spring 2015.

ST. LOUIS - Winter is here and with it comes the cold, wet weather and shorter days. It’s common for people of all ages to slow down during the winter months, be less active and spend more time in front of TV and computer screens. But being active is an essential part of a child’s health that should not be allowed to hibernate. Regular, vigorous physical activity is an important part of a healthy child’s life. Even though the shortened daylight hours and cold weather can make it more of a challenge, the recommendation of 60 minutes of physical activity per day still holds true in the winter.

With getting outside being a challenge, we often have to look for other opportunities for kids to be active. There are many ideas for indoor activities for families to participate in the winter season.

  • Play basketball, volleyball or walk/jog on an indoor track at a community recreation center.
  • Participate in group classes such as gymnastics or karate, take lessons or swim at an indoor pool.
  • Ice skate or bowl as a family.
  • Walk inside a shopping mall. You can skip the escalators and take the stairs to increase the physical demand.

When going out is not an option, there are still plenty of things kids can do to stay active in their own home. 

  • Clear a room so kids can have a home gymnasium to jump rope, jump on a mini trampoline, play hopscotch or just run around. 
  • Build forts inside to substitute for a playground’s jungle gym. 
  • Let kids turn on their favorite music and have a dance party.
  • Play Twister or Charades instead of board games to keep kids moving when stuck indoors. 
  • And if available, play interactive video games that require whole body movements to activate the controls.

The goal of any of the above activities is fun.  Remember, kids will be more likely to participate and stay active if they are having fun.  So if parents can be encouraging, a little creative and foster a fun atmosphere, kids are more likely to have an active and healthy winter.

Dr. Nick Greiner, Mercy Clinic family physician, will be providing sports medicine services at Mercy Kids Mid Rivers starting Spring 2015. For more information, please visit

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