Keep your body moving during the holidays

Cullman High School physical education teacher Jonathan Hayes (Cullman High School)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Schools are out for the Christmas holidays and the kids are likely happy to be home and relax. It’s easy for them to get in the habit of sleeping in late, watching television or playing video games and staying inside. Especially this year with Christmas gatherings strongly discouraged, keeping kids active and engaged may seem hard, but there are still plenty of fun things to be done to keep them moving and healthy.

Cullman High School P.E. teacher and coach Jonathan Hayes has several easy suggestions for students. His main advice? Get outside!

“You gotta be creative of course because of COVID, but the things I have suggested to my classes when we have been dealing with virtual learning and hybrid is be outside every day- at least 45 minutes if not longer,” he said. “An article came out in the last day or two about how vitamin D can help fight COVID.”

Hayes acknowledged that meeting a large group of friends for activities is not a good idea but had several ideas for great outdoor opportunities for individuals and families.

“Take advantage of the good weather we have had. Get outside and get creative,” he said. “Bankhead (National Forest) is free and it’s not that far away. Find some trails- they are well marked. Go hiking- they have some great waterfalls over there.”


Locally, he added, “We have great parks and rec here. Get out and walk and take the dog! Just get outside and find anything you can do safely. Kites are cheap! Go fly it for a day. Hurricane Creek Park is very close to Monte Sano (State Park) in Huntsville.”

Hayes also suggested the bike trails at Duck River where he said the trails are perfect for all skill levels.

“I’m a huge proponent of being outdoors, especially now,” he said. “We kayak, we bike, we hunt, we fish, and we have a little dog we walk. For exercise and to gain benefits for cardiovascular, you have to get the heart rate up for so long so that’s why I say for 45 to at least, I prefer, 60 minutes,” Hayes said.

Tennis, golf (if you choose to walk) and disc golf are other activities that are fun and available in the Cullman area. While some might not get the heart rate up as much as others, Hayes said, “I think the benefits of just being outside and not staring at a screen during such a shortened daylight time is so much more. At some point, you need to elevate the heart rate and get in those target heart rate zones, and I know that is tough to do when you are doing it by yourself.”

Finding a family member or friend who could use a visit but still maintaining a safe social distance can be done by walking outside at one of the many walking trails in the city and county.

Hayes stressed, “Just take advantage of all the stuff that we have with Duck River, parks and rec, disc golf and golf courses. They all do a great job.”

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