Washington Evening Journal
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Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 23, 2014

Beat the winter blues

By Iowa State University Extension Service | Jan 22, 2014

AMES — As the short days and long nights of winter roll into February, we begin to feel as if we are stuck in a rut. A little sunshine and fresh air would do us good, but the frigid weather may seem like a good excuse to avoid workouts or outdoor play. Evidence shows that people are less physically active during winter months and tend to eat more “comfort” foods, increasing their potential to gain weight.

Being active can help with more than just weight control. Those who can maintain or increase their physical activity level may feel happier and more energetic as well as feel better about themselves physically, and be better able to control their weight. Beat the blues by planning an activity for family or friends. Here are a few examples:

• Bundle up children for cold weather and let them play outside for short periods of time. Sledding or making snow angels, snowmen, or snow forts are great activities to enjoy.

• Allow children to play actively indoors if the weather is bitterly cold. Parents and children can dance or practice aerobics together. Parents may designate a space in the house where it is fine to wrestle and roughhouse.

• Share a competitive round with exergames on the Wii or Kinect as a family or set up a family “Olympics” with a variety of sports activities.

• Provide lots of challenge and vigorous exercise through ice skating. Many ice rinks are open to the public.

• Go bowling. It offers friendly, fun-filled competition.

A little imagination and a lot of flexibility are all that’s needed to pass the time until spring.

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