Tips For Keeping Your Kids Active From A Washington DC Fitness Professional

February 16, 2013 8:00 AM

File photo of kids running. (credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

When the weather outside is frightful, it’s very easy to let the kids be cooped up indoors and in front of the television. Yet, with childhood obesity rates at an all-time high, a seasonal sedentary lifestyle may do irreparable harm to your child’s health. Help keep the kids healthy and active with these tips from Maryam Hamid, a Washington DC fitness professional, NASM Women’s Fitness Specialist, nutritionist and certified personal trainer.

Related: Best Fall Sports Leagues For Kids In DC

1. Go Sightseeing
With practically zero crowds, winter is the best time to visit to a DC monument, museum or historical site. Hamid suggests asking your child about his or her interests and then finding a destination in DC that matches what he or she likes. There’s the International Spy Museum, where you and your child can be secret agents for the day or the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. Or, visit the National Building Museum, a popular family-friendly destination that features interactive exhibits and plenty of space to play.
2. Sign Up For A Team Sport
Getting your kids involved in team sports not only helps keep them off the couch, it also helps develop important social skills and boosts their self-confidence. Research kids sports in your child’s school, in your neighborhood or local community center. The YMCA of Metropolitan Washington offers a wide variety of kids’ sports including basketball, gymnastics, kickball, martial arts, swimming and soccer.
3. Participate In Seasonal Activities
While the DC area may not always get a lot of snow, there are plenty of places nearby that provide seasonal activities and entertainment. Go for a drive to a nearby snow resort for a day of sledding, skiing, snowboarding and snowtubing (not to mention building snowmen and having snowball fights) or head over to the local ice skating rink, like the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink. When the temperatures start to warm up, go for a hike, ride bikes or play a game of tag.
Forget Virtual Reality, Try the Real Thing
Sure, it may be fun to have a virtual bowling alley, miniature golf course or shuffleboard in your home but it doesn’t compare to the real thing. Research businesses that provide entertaining and active options for kids, like a venue that provides laser tag or a real racquetball court. Lucky Strike in DC is an uber-cool bowling alley that’s guaranteed to keep your kids on their feet while they bowl and dance to today’s latest hits.
5. Don’t Forget To Clean Your Room
Recruiting the kids to help around the house not only takes a load off your shoulders but also teaches good cleanliness habits and helps keep kids healthy and active. Create a daily chore chart for each member of your family and include physically-demanding tasks like vacuuming, dusting and cleaning glass surfaces. Or, invite your child to help you bake that pie or create a cake. Prefer not to make a huge mess in your kitchen? Check out Cookology in Dulles Town Center where you and your child can sign up for a “Mommy/Daddy and Me” course. Reward your kids for a job well-done with extra play time or a healthy snack.

Related: Best Playgrounds In DC

Still not sure where to start? The following local business will help keep your kids active this winter season:

The National Building Museum
401 F St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 272-2448

YMCA Of Metropolitan Washington
1112 16th St. NW, 7th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20036
(202) 232-6700

National Gallery Of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink
4th and Constitution Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20565
(202) 737-4215

Lucky Strike
701 7th St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 347-1021

21100 Dulles Town Circle
Dulles, VA 20166
(703) 433-1909

Susan Diranian is a freelance writer living in Ashburn, VA. She is covering Travel & Outdoors. Her work can be found at