Sunday, January 11, 2015

*HEALTH & WELLNESS* Staying FIT and having FUN the FAMILY way!

During the warmer months it doesn't take us much coaxing to get outdoors and stay active, we've got mother nature on our side, however as the temps gradually get cooler it naturally gets harder and harder to do so.

These days we are all well aware of all the benefits of keeping physically active and now, equipped with this knowledge what can we do as a family to ensure we keep moving during the colder months?

The following are just a few ideas for families on staying fit and having FUN during the winter season from our friends at ParticipACTION:

Here are some ways for you and your family to sit less and move more this season: 

Family Fun!
  • Grab a sled and cruise down a slope.
  • Strap on your skis or snowshoes and hit the trails.
  • Ice skate with the family.
  • Build a snowman and a snow fort.
  • Make a snow angel, or two, or three.
  • Bury some goodies in the snow in a cooler, create a treasure map and send your kids on a hunt for buried treasures.
  • Pretend you are an Arctic explorer and make some important outdoor discoveries.
  • Play tag while staying in your tracks in the snow.
  • Go for a swim in an indoor pool or check out an indoor waterpark.
  • Play a game of hockey in your driveway or head to a rink with friends.
  • Find a way to make winter chores, like shoveling snow, fun.
  • Make getting ready to go outside a race. See who can get dressed in all of their snow gear first!
  • Learn a new winter game on our Bring Back Play app, like ‘snoccer’.
  • Take a hike. Get off the beaten trail and explore nature’s winter wonderland.
  • Create a winter obstacle course in your backyard or at a park.
  • Make your own backyard rink.

Exert taken from "It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Let’s make it active!" by Rebecca Jones previously published on ParticipACTION

Not only is it important for us all to stay physically fit throughout the year but let's not forget our brain health, without a doubt the winter months can take a toll on us all! The Ontario Brain Institute shares some simple ideas with us on how families can achieve this:

Your brain is constantly changing, and long periods of stress could cause changes to how it regularly functions.

Here are 10 things you can do to give your brain the break it deserves, so it is refreshed and prepared for the New Year. 

Winter Fun!
1. Give yourself a technology detox: Heavy tech use is linked to sleep disorders & depressive symptoms - now is a great time to disconnect.

2. Meditate. Be mindful. Think: Reduce stress hormones like cortisol and enable yourself to handle stressful events more effectively.

3. Replace some holiday treats with brain-healthy foods: Make time for breakfast and learn about brain-healthy food as suggested by scientists.

4. Read something interesting: Increase neural connectivity, and improve your ability to process and store new information.

5. Naptime isn’t only for Preschoolers: Enhance your creative thinking, memory, and learning by catching some shut-eye.

6. Don’t do too much hibernating: We’re social beings and we aren’t meant to hide away – reach out to family and friends. 

7. Indulge in the frosty weather and the activities it brings: Bundle up and boost your brain and body power with a winter walk, skating, or skiing. 

8. Sharpen your creative skills and bring novelty to your daily routine: Keep your brain active - playing an instrument, painting, woodworking, or knitting - creations can be meaningful gifts.

9. Take a break from work or School: A real break. Remind yourself that it’s okay to take a break, as you’ll be more productive once you get back to it. 

Why no tip #10? 

One of the great stressors of the holidays is feeling you have to compile and complete long lists of “must-dos”. You don’t. In fact, the best way to give your brain a holiday is to keep those lists as short as possible and simply unwind. 

With the New Year already upon us take some time to stay active, don't forget to make it fun and include the entire family!

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