Video games, television, and YouTube have an alluring pull on children of all ages. This is especially true during the winter months when the mere thought of stepping outdoors to brave the windchill and snow is enough to have you huddling up indoors with blankets, hot chocolate, and yes, technological devices. Here are some great tips from a local fitness professional to help keep your family fit and active this winter season.
Personal Trainer Taalib Smith says “Knowing the right outdoor activities for winter days and nights is the first step to having a healthy and active winter.” Smith starts out by saying that no matter what season it is or what the weather may be, it is crucial to practice safe workout procedures. Smith says to always wear proper workout clothing, ensuring that you stay warm enough when exercising outdoors in colder weather. Staying hydrated is a must. It can be easy to forget the importance of hydrating when it is not sweltering, but Smith says that even in the winter, your body needs hydration during and after a workout.
Perhaps one of the easiest ways to encourage an active and healthy lifestyle is to start at an early age. When children are conditioned and accustomed to a certain habit during their early years, it is likely that the behavior will continue throughout their life. Smith encourages parents with young children to find mommy and me classes in their area. Classes geared toward parents and young children are a great way to keep both mom and baby moving.
For mommy and me, daddy and me and family classes in your area, consider the following options.
KinderMusik classes are offered for a variety of age groups including infants and toddlers, as well as family classes that cater to a variety of ages. The “music and movement” approach to fitness is a great starting point to introduce an active lifestyle. Home materials are provided for continued learning outside of class. For a free trial classes and locations near you, visit the website.
KidsFirst Swim School
9638 Belair Road
Perry Hall, Md. 21128
Swimming is an activity that is enjoyable for every member of the family throughout the year. Early learning lessons focus on water safety while individual instruction continues through to competitive style swimming. Visit the company website for locations and class options including Mommy (or Daddy) and me, Mommy Bootcamp and Family Swim sessions.
7830 Rossville Blvd.
Baltimore, Md. 21236
Gymboree offers a variety of classes that cater to a wide range of interests. Classes are created and led by highly trained and experienced child development professionals. Classes are offered in several formats including parent/child, family, and group instruction. They range in age from birth to five years and include the play and learn series, art, sports, music and school skills.
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The Little Gym
At The Little Gym, children learn through movement and physically stimulating activities such as gymnastics, dance, karate and sports. Group instruction and parent/child classes are held at various times and locations and cater to ages four months to 12 years. The Little Gym encourages children to express themselves through movement while burning energy and staying active. Visit the website to find a location near you.
Classes are designed for children six months to seven years old. Sessions are nine weeks long. Each session focuses on a specific skill such as coordination. Free play is offered for children to express themselves in a fun and safe environment with a variety of climbing and gymnastic-like structures. Programs are offered in a variety of subjects including gym, music, and art. Their “no wrong way to do something” approach provides children with a confident and welcoming environment.
While classes like these are great, they can get a little pricey. Not to worry, Smith says that even simple outdoor activities like building snowmen, going on nature walks, hiking local trails, and sledding are all easy family friendly activities that will not only keep your family fit and active, but will create lasting memories. Who doesn’t love a good old fashioned game of flashlight tag? Gather a few of your neighbors and bring back an old favorite. The kids will be having so much fun they won’t even realize they are exercising.
If the weather simply does not permit outdoor activities, Smith ensures that there are plenty of indoor facilities that cultivate a healthy family lifestyle. Many local gyms are geared toward families and children. Find a gym or indoor sports complex that hosts activities suited to your child’s interests. Swimming, rock climbing, indoor sports, and karate are just a few of the activities that Smith suggests.
Harry And Jeanette Weinberg Family Center Y
900 E. 33rd St.
Baltimore, Md. 21217
Amenities include an indoor pool, weight and cardio equipment, aerobics area, rock climbing equipment and a teen center. The Y centers strive to encourage a positive self-image in youth and promote healthy lifestyles. Child development, preschool, camp and after school programs are all offered as well as a variety of aquatic and sports programs designed for all ages.
1930 Greenspring Drive
Timonium, Md. 21093
Earth Treks is an indoor climbing gym that provides instruction for youth and adults. Free-climb sessions are offered for all ages and do not require any sort of commitment or reservation. Individual instruction is offered for kids, teens and adults in both an indoor and outdoor format. Visit the website for special offers and discounts. In addition to instructing climbers in class sessions, Earth Treks hosts numerous expeditions around the world.
26 Magothy Beach Road
Pasadena, Md. 21012
www.bigvanilla.comBig Vanilla offers activities for the whole family including rock climbing, martial arts, swimming, workout equipment, group fitness, Kids Club, tennis and more. Weight loss and nutrition education/coaching are offered as well. There are two convenient locations. The Big Vanilla mission is “Family, Fun, Fitness.” The club strives to help families improve their overall quality of life while maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
About Taalib Smith
Smith is a certified personal trainer with more than 15 years of experience. He is currently employed at the Big Vanilla Athletic Club in Arnold. He encourages all families to promote an active way of life and to have fun while doing it.
Jillian Amodio is an author, writer and public speaker.There is nothing she enjoys more than being a stay at home mom. In addition to having recently published her first novel, Jillian also writes for her local Pasadena newspaper and on Examiner.com.