Winter is the perfect time to explore cold-weather sports and introduce children to fun activities they can do individually or with a group. Being outdoors has been known to decrease anxiety, stimulate the senses, and improve concentration. Not only will these winter sports help beat the winter blues, they will also help build strong muscles and bones.
Top 5 Winter Sports for Kids:
- Snowshoeing-Easy to learn, with little risk of injury, and relatively inexpensive, snowshoeing has been gaining popularity in recent years. It is a great cardiovascular exercise, and hiking through the snow burns more calories than regular hiking. The resistance provided by the snow and the balance required to walk will strengthen core and leg muscles. There are different types of snowshoes based on skill level and terrain.
- Skiing-Both cross-country skiing and downhill skiing have many health benefits. Downhill skiing uses short bouts of energy and cross-country skiing is more of an endurance sport. Both types of skiing work our major core muscles and large muscle groups including the abdominals, the glutes, the quadriceps, hamstrings, and biceps/triceps. Skiing also improves our balance skills on variable terrain and helps train our postural muscles.
- Skating-Skating is a sport that provides something for everyone. Between speed skating, recreational skating, and figure skating, this is an activity that one can participate in as an individual or group. Skating is a low-impact exercise that trains balance, agility, speed, muscle endurance, lower body strength, and flexibility. It teaches kids about weight-shifting, grading their movements, and the stability required to balance on one foot, which is important in their gross motor development.
- Snowboarding-In a sense, snowboarding is like surfing on snow. It requires snowboarders to use their quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calf muscles to steer the board and use their abdominals to control their balance. Getting up and down from the snow is an exercise in itself for young children. Snowboarding is a great core exercise and kids become more aware of their body mechanics as they advance their skills on challenging terrain.
- Hockey-Ice hockey is a high-intensity sport that builds teamwork, strength, coordination, balance, endurance, and agility. It challenges little bodies and minds by incorporating skating skills with running skills and hand-eye coordination tasks. Click here to read about more benefits of hockey!
So bundle up, put on protective gear, and head outside for some fresh air. Winter sports are healthy, fun, and promote quality time outdoors for you and your family.