Holidays are usually a time to indulge ourselves with delicious foods that we only have once a year, but it’s important to fight the tryptophan, an amino acid in turkeys often associated with sleepiness, and keep your family moving.
“The most important thing to do is plan your physical activity out,” said Children’s National Health System’s sports medicine pediatrician Nailah Coleman, MD.
Here are some tips on how to plan a family activity:
- Have several options available based on energy level and age appropriateness. For example, a 7 or 8 year old cannot weight lift or participate in a 5-mile jog, but he could go for a hike or a 1-mile jog.
- Set a time frame for the activity.
- Follow everyone’s mood. If the family seems ready to go right after a heavy meal, it’s time to seize the day and play!
“This time of year is a great time to play football with the kids before you watch the game together on TV,” said Dr. Coleman. “You can also make a game of watching TV by asking everyone to do their own ‘touchdown dance’ with each touchdown scored or dance for each first down, if it’s a low-scoring game.”
The AAP lists several suggestions for active family activities, including:
- Walk around the block
- Playing interactive video games
- Mall walking
- Play tag in the front yard
- Buy a kite, put it together as a family activity, and fly it in the park. While you hold onto the kite string, let your child run with the kite until the wind catches it and sends it aloft.
- Take a family bike ride
- Wax the car as a family activity
- Have a family dance party
- During the holiday season, take a family walk in the evening and enjoy the holiday lights on the homes in the neighborhood