By Wendy Wolfson
Even as the weather turns colder and the days get shorter, I can’t help but have a true love for this time of year. The smell of fireplaces, leaves decorating the streets, our boots and sweaters coming back out (yay!), and my favorite holiday — Thanksgiving.
It’s also a time of year when everyone gets that hibernation feeling creeping through their bloodstream. Curling up at home just feels so good as the temperature drops! Thanksgiving can also be the kick-off for a month-long eating bonanza filled with parties and obligations, not just for adults, but for the kids, too. For a lot of people, being active at this time of year becomes really difficult. However, fitness as a family activity can make it not only easier for everyone to stay moving and motivated, but also WAY more enjoyable.
To me Thanksgiving is a holiday that is truly about family, friends, food, and most of all, tradition. As parents, it’s a great time of year to start your own family traditions — and the perfect opportunity to make a few of them active!
Here are a couple of suggestions for staying active with your little ones in tow:
1. Go take a hike!
No, seriously - go take a hike!!! There are tons of safe, kid friendly trails. Seeing your little ones’ faces when they get to the end is pretty amazing. Working together to choose the right paths/steps/course is great bonding, and yes, this is a REAL workout!
2. Hit the playground
Get the bikes and scooters out for the whole family, and ride over to the playground before it gets too cold. I have my kids outside as much as possible before the cold air really sets in, and we’re bound to the house. Not to mention, when was the last time you tried the monkey bars? Quite a challenge!
3. Rake the leaves
Hand your little helper a broom or a rake, and get those leaf piles going. Gathering leaves is one serious workout, and the end result is hard for anyone to resist. Run, jump, and then do it all over again!
4. Clean the house
Speaking of helping, my little guy especially loves to clean. All of the scrubbing, reaching, wiping, and stretching allows kids to feel useful and gets those little heart rates up, all at the same time.
5. Family workout
Rainy day and you’re stuck inside? My husband and I have been known to throw on an old-school workout/yoga DVD, and all do it together. The kids love doing something that is so grown-up, and they also like laughing at their parents huffing and puffing along with the DVD.
6. Get groovin’
A football toss is a traditional activity after Thanksgiving dinner, but being that we live in NYC, sometimes this is not so easy. My suggestion - dance party! Turn on some fun, loud music, and just move. Whatever dances moves you, it’s all good, and you’ll be surprised how much you’ll all be sweating.
7. Get outside
If all else fails, go for a walk. It’s beautiful out, and breathing in the clean, crisp air, noticing nature around you, and being together (sans devices!) is good for the body, mind, and heart.
Now go enjoy this wonderful season — and Happy Thanksgiving to the entire Sweat Life community!
Wendy Wolfson has had a life-long passion for health, fitness, dance and music. Above anything else, she believes that proper fitness is integral to balance and success in the most important facets of life - family, career, relationships, and fundamental happiness. Wendy's love for music and movement started at the age of five; she studied tap, jazz and ballet for over 15 years and, after graduating college, channeled her love for dance into fitness. Wendy happily put her event planning career on hold to stay home with her family full time in 2005. This was a period of great joy and satisfaction for her, but also a time spent learning how to balance the priorities of a family with the necessity of self-maintenance - something all parents experience. It was then that Wendy discovered her passion for indoor cycling and became a certified spinning instructor.