Q. My son just wants to sit around and play video games or watch TV when it’s cold outside. He won’t go outside and play. How can I keep him in shape?

A. There are lots of fun activities and fun exercises you can do with your child – or have your child do with his friends – on those extra bitter cold Colorado winter days. The best part? You don’t need a lot of room to do them.

Here’s a basic list of core strength exercises to get you started.

  • Plank You can guess what happens here. Hold your body straight as a board and get into the position as if you’re going to do a push-up. Stay in the up mode as long as you can.
  • Alligator From plank, have your child shift down into “alligator,” which is essentially the same asexercise, physical education, elementary school, kids “plank,” but the participant rests on the forearms rather than hands. Again, hold the position as long as you can. This is great for those young (or older) abs!
  • Leaning Ts Now have your son shift onto his side, keeping his body straight but propping himself up with one arm and one leg on one side (you might want to watch the video for this one). This is good for balance, upper body and core strength. Make sure to do it on both sides.
  • Superman Who can resist the desire to be a superhero? Lay on your tummy, with arms outstretched above your head as if you are in flight, then lift your arms and feet off the ground and away you go to rid the world of evil (and a soft tummies)!
  • Partner pushes This activity requires two people. One person stands up, the other lays down on his back and wraps his arms around the other person’s ankles. The person on the floor then lifts up his legs, keeping them straight. It is the job of the person standing up to try to push her partner’s legs down – again, and again, and again. (Again, you should really watch the above video).

In addition, you should do some things that get your heart pumping. Try these activities:

  • Step ups Kids go wild (in a good way) doing this one. The repetitive motion – up, up, down, down – is addictive and rhythmic. Have your child step up a step on a stair or a half fitness ball as fast as they can. You can try it backwards, too, to mix things up.
  • Partner toe touches Kids can’t resist this one, either. Just remember to tell them this isn’t actually about trying to stamp the life out of their partner’s foot. Rather it is about constant movement. Have the two partners face each other and gently hold hands. Then have them attempt to touch each other’s feet with their feet.
  • Imaginary jumprope This activity nurture’s a child’s imagination along with boosting their heart rate. Children actually don’t seem to mind one bit that they’re not using a real jump rope. Do all the fun things you do with a real jumprope – butterflies, crossovers, etc.  Jumping rope is one of the best things we can do for our hearts.

Get moving, and, most importantly, have fun!