Dec. 23, 2020
By Justin Saulnier, Physiotherapist at Horizon’s The Moncton Hospital.
As a physiotherapist, and also as a father of a young family, I often get asked if there are any new tricks to keeping a family active, especially during “these pandemic times,” and with the holidays just around the corner.
My main suggestion is that, when planning any activities, don’t just look at it from an exercise perspective but as a simple way to get the whole family moving and having fun.
It can be as easy as dressing warmly and going for a walk in your neighbourhood. Make it fun for your kids as you point out Christmas decorations and lights. For toddlers and infants, you can enjoy a longer trek with the help of a stroller.
Although we are in no rush for it, a good snowfall creates the right conditions to build a snowman, and this a great workout for the whole family!
For some indoor fun, you could plan a treasure hunt by giving out clues to find objects placed in various rooms around the home. Old games such as ‘Simon Says’ can be adapted with simple moves for toddlers and more challenging ones for older kids.
For quiet times, there are various online yoga tutorials you can enjoy together as a family, or simple stretching exercises such as reaching for the ceiling, touching your toes, etc. If you are watching a TV show, get off the couch during commercial breaks by going to get a glass of water.
Dancing to songs or videos on YouTube, especially those that show how to do dance moves, is very entertaining and gets kids of all ages excited. This is one of my family’s favourite activities and it turns your living room into a mini dance floor. We involve grandparents in the fun when they visit.
Other ideas include:
- Hallway bowling: use paper towel rolls or something similar as pins.
- Animal races: hop like a bunny or a frog, squat and waddle like a duck, etc.
- Parachute: use a bed sheet and each kid takes an end of the sheet, fans it upward to make a parachute while one of you runs underneath it.
Simple things will get your family moving this winter and during the pandemic. These will help create lasting memories.
Stay fit and have fun!
Physiotherapist Justin Saulnier joined Horizon when he graduated from university twelve years ago. Originally from Cap-Pelé, he was drawn to the field of physiotherapy because of his love for sports, especially hockey. He works with patients who are recovering from a complete knee replacement surgery, a rehabilitation program that takes place at the ‘knee gym’ of Horizon’s The Moncton Hospital. Justin has enjoyed working with many patients over the years to help improve their quality of life.