Winter Fitness and Fun

Published on in Stroke Notes

As we await the return of warm spring breezes, open windows and outdoor play, there are plenty of things to do indoors that can be fun (and therapeutic!) for you and your child. Here are a few activities that the whole family can enjoy while also supporting stroke rehabilitation.

  1. Walk the mall. If it’s too cold to go outside, look for a new shopping mall to explore. Your child can practice walking, throwing pennies in a fountain, or carrying bags with both hands if you make any purchases.
  2. Get inspired online. There are many websites with creative suggestions for indoor activities and crafts. Kiwi Crate is one great example.
  3. Incorporate strength and balance. While you’re working on indoor projects, incorporate these small changes to introduce therapeutic activities such as strength and balance exercises.
    1. Add some fitness flair! Incorporate squatting to pick up objects/supplies, or practice standing up from the floor to build strength and balance. 
    2. Use a roll of masking tape to build “roads,” or even a whole neighborhood, on your floor. Your child can push tiny cars along the roads, or even walk along the roads like a balance beam.
    3. A quick game of “Simon Says” can get your child moving. Practice therapeutic activities with tasks such as jogging in place, jumping jacks and hopping.
  4. Explore a museum. Local children’s museums offer many fun indoor activities and a great place to run around or experience something new. Check out the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia or the Discovery Museum in South Jersey.
  5. Visit the zoo. When was the last time you went to the zoo? Winter is a great time to see your favorite creatures in action without dealing with big crowds. Check out the Philadelphia Zoo or the Cape May County Zoo.

Finally, you know better than anyone how fast your child can grow. With the change of seasons, now is a good time to ask your school or outpatient physical therapist if your child needs any new equipment, braces or splints to get them set for the spring.

Bones can grow faster than muscles, which may cause the muscles to feel tight and stiff. Your therapist can evaluate any discomfort your child is feeling and recommend some stretches to help. If needed, your physician or therapist can also recommend an additional consultation with Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation or Physical Therapy.