Saturday, February 13, 2016

Winter Exercise

Any homeschool mom who says that February is their favorite month is either lying or doesn't live in the northern hemisphere where it gets cold in the winter.

Or they know a secret that I don't.

Today the wind is blowing last night's fresh snowfall into drifts. I'm always amazed how the wind can make an inch or two look much worse. And the wind certainly makes the temperature feel worse. I really can't blame the children for not wanting to go outdoors.

But being stuck indoors with several children stuck 24 hours a day is a recipe for a crazy mom.

Ed and I both grew up on dairy farms where there was plenty of chores to get everyone outdoors several times a day to burn off energy. But without livestock, it is a challenge to find ways for our children to get fresh air and exercise every day.

Last week I was so desperate I stepped off the perimeter of our yard and found the approximate distance. Three times around the yard is a kilometer and fives times is approximately a mile.

Nearly every day since then I've sent the children out to walk or run a kilometer. Some have chosen to do a mile. The goal is to increase their distance so that by spring they will be able to do 5K - or 15 times around our yard.

Attitudes are usually much better after even 15 minutes of outdoor time. And hopefully the exercise will keep us healthier this winter.

And I found an added benefit. I've joined them a few times (since they whine that I shouldn't ask them to do something that I don't do myself). I need the fresh air and exercise as much, or probably more, than the children but usually I don't think I have time for a walk. Last night after the children were in bed, Ed offered to rock the baby while I took a walk in the falling snow. I balked, thinking of all the things I could do in the house, but Ed insisted, and that 30 minutes was probably my favorite half hour all week.

Why did I think that I didn't have time to enjoy pristine snow and quiet?

I would love to hear your hints on getting outdoors and enjoying exercise in the winter - or any other sanity-saving advice for mothers in February.

17 comments :

  1. It's so hard when it's cold to motivate yourself to go outdoors. If we didn't have chickens, I would probably rarely go out when it's snowing! :)

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  2. If the snow gets too deep or icy, have the children do sprints up and down your stairs......you could time the event and make it a competition. Our daughter use to fun up and down our stairs just for the exercise.

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  3. This year at school, the one classroom has a goal to "walk" across our state. Their teacher measured off a mile on the playing field, and when that was too muddy, the distance on the driveway, and also how many times back and forth in the school basement when the weather isn't nice to be outside, and at first break the students either can run or walk, then they chart their distances on a chart in the classroom. If your children are walking anyway, they might want to see how long it takes them to "walk" across your state!

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    1. I love this idea! I think I'll pull out a piece of poster board and make some sort of chart for records.
      Gina

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  4. I like your idea. When my kids were young,I sent them outside each day even if for only a few minutes. I always told them they had to get the stink blowed off. I know that sounds odd..but it is what my mom told us,too. It made us laugh,so I followed suit. It also made my kids laugh. We did,and still do have farm chores,but I still made sure for some playtime outside. I still enjoy a walk in the snow,especially at night! Enjoy your winter!!

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  5. Another idea, keep track of the kilometers/miles that are walked and chart a path to areas of interest. Upon "arrival" do a study of the destination or points of interest along the way. Great for map study, math calculations, history, etc. How many days will it take to walk to Grandpa's farm? Or set your sights high and head for the Grand Canyon :) This is a tactic used by some exercise groups. It's motivation for the times you get bored making laps. Also, with your children's imagination, I can just imagine them talking about all the animals, landmarks they see along their journey.

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    1. Wow! You have some creative ideas.
      Thanks,
      Gina

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  6. How did you know I was thinking about exercise??

    I have to say, though, that I hate exercising.....in all forms!!! I'd much rather sit at the sewing machine or cuddle up with a good book.

    But, since spring is approaching and I'm starting to wear the winter on my hips, I've been (for two days in a row!!) exercising in the peace and relative quiet of our bedroom - and telling myself it's a gift to myself. I'm not convinced yet.....but it's worked for two days. ;)

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    1. Karen,
      Maybe we need to get together sometimes to help motivate each other. At least we know the time would go fast with our gabbing!
      Gina

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  7. Cross country skis for everyone, you too. They can be found relatively cheap for youngsters. Ski swaps are popular here. I first skied when I was 18 and I went along with the ski club in college freshman year. We still have the skis and poles I bought. Shoes wore out after the 5 children and friends all wore them in turn.

    They can ski right out your door and if they can walk they can ski. Look for no wax skis for ease, though waxable are not that much trouble. You don't need lots of snow either. An inch or two is enough. No matter how cold it is they will feel plenty warm from the exertion. Your husband could break a trail for them around your property or just let them go where they want. It would be easiest for the younger with a trail though.

    Here, city parks, county parks and state parks all have trails, some multiple and of varying difficulty, from completely level to hilly. If you have recreation trails for walking and cycling they could be ski trails in winter.

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    1. Great idea! Though I'm not sure we have enough consistent snow fall. Some winters we are rather brown and bare. But it is certainly something worth looking into.
      Gina

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  8. I couldnt agree more about just getting out even in the cold.. Like you I live in the "North" The children handle the chickens and so I usually didnt have to deal with going outside in the "Cold".. but a week ago I bought a Doe and her Triplet doelings.. That in of itself requires ME to go out and make sure they are fed, and well cared for.. I cant begin to tell you the energy and feeling awake it does to my body just being out there walking to the barn and then to the goat house and back home again.. Feels good :)

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  9. I live in a very cold climate and we always have a ton of snow (3 feet is fairly normal winter here...and we have snow usually late October to late April without any grass in between). We've had a milder winter this year which has made it much easier...mild for here. Most days have been above -20 celcius. But lately there have been a few days in the late -30's celcius or even -40's celcius. Those days are hard. Some winters we have a lot of that. Those times the kids end up doing laps around the table or around the wall seperating the kitchen from the living room. :)

    As for getting outside, sometimes it doesn't feel worth it, especially when I had all little ones and the time spent putting their clothes on was more than the time we spent outside (since some days were so cold). But it was worth it and I would remind myself of that. Everyone would have a better attitude.

    We have spent the money on warm winter things. We all have a pair of smartwool wool socks (to wear only when we go outside) and good winter boots and mitts etc. We also got neckwarmers that are actually inexpensive (a few dollars each) that are a tube that is made of some kind of knit material, but I have also seen them fleece. You could probably make them. They go from the neckline around the collar bone and they can be pulled up or down as desired to cover the nose right up to under the eyes. Often times my kids wear that on really cold days...we call it "eyes only showing" days. The neckwarmers fit snug to the face and keep the face warm. I have one too. It really helps. Sometimes I hear people saying "its so cold!" and then I see what they are wearing...no wonder they are so cold. Also it helps to keep moving while outside. Standing around even in warm clothes is a recipe for getting cold.

    Sometimes I do simple laps around my yard while the kids are playing outside. I can see them and they can see me but I am not standing still getting cold.

    Another idea is if there is enough snow to build a snow fort like a nest...make the walls high. The kids can make it. It cuts the wind and the kids can play in it for longer than an area with lots of open ground that is windy. Going on a forest trail is also warmer since it is out of the wind.

    We all have snowshoes and I have found my children at 3 can handle it well. If we have a child younger then we pull them on a sled. Its hard work but its fun and we all enjoy it.

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    1. Wow! You know about cold and snow! Makes me feel rather soft!

      My husband introduced me to SmartWool socks and I love them! I wear them about as often as they are laundered and find that they last far longer than normal socks. Certainly worth while.

      Thanks for your hints.
      Gina

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    2. Yes I find that they last longer than normal socks too. Its an up front cost but I have been able to pass on the socks from one child to another, and I never can do that with cotton socks.

      I don't think you're soft...everyone gets used to the climate they live in and when its cold in their own climate it feels cold to them. Plus where I live its a drier cold and in your climate its probably damper which makes a person feel the cold more.

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  10. Well we are a dairy farm and days of this extreme cold I wish we were't. The whole thawing process after each milking. When it is so cold it is sunny and the sun draws me outside. I feed the birds and watch them. I also love to cross country ski as do the younger children. I tell everyone in the house to get out and get their vitamin D

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  11. Checking the mail and racing my daughter to the mailbox.

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I'm still learning how to be a joyful homemaker and I'd love to hear from you!

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