Archive for the ‘Pre school and elementary age’ Category

Workout run with kids!

I planned to do a run around Ft Greene with just my eldest, he’s seven. I figured if I paced him we would manage two loops. My youngest insisted on getting out of the apartment too, so I decided to give it a try. It was actually a very successful run. Just over one lap completed but the (almost) 4 year old ran pretty much the whole way. She collected a few treasures along the way, flowers, a pine cone, a branch of a tree, but she ran a lot. The eldest walked more because the pace was slow, but he also sprinted bits. I had a super slow jog, jogging in place at times just to keep my heart rate up a bit, but it still was exercise as I’m in the getting-back-into-shape-post-injury phase. Did a set of pushups after the loop while the kids snacked on the Climbing Tree.  Did the second set of pushups after playing “Try to catch me” with the eldest in the playground. It’s nearly impossible to catch him around the playscape. He’s quick and agile and impossible to trick.

Guidelines for running with kids:

1) bring snacks. We brought a banana and an apple. Light fruit good for continuing exercise after consumption.

2)Make sure water is available. The water fountains are turned on so we did not need to carry any.

3) Be flexible.

Eventually the kids will be bigger and the good habits started already. Halfway through the loop I was wondering why I hadn’t started my eldest when he was 4, I should have but at that point in my life I just wanted to exercise by myself for that 20-30 minutes of alone time.

A New Method of Transporting Kids

My son and I have a new method of transportation for kids. We did not play to develop this, in fact he wished to prevent my movement. He locked himself around my leg and I dragged him along as I went on my way mildly fettered by the 7 year old latched onto my lower leg. The almost 4 year old decided that this looked like so much fun that she joined in the fun by latching onto my other leg. So, there I was dragging my kids from one end of the apartment to the other wearing my 45 pound “shuffler” magnetic boot on one foot and my 27 pound magnetic boot on the other. This is an excellent balance challenge although an uneven workout. Next time I’ll need to switch the kids to opposite legs! It’s a good exercise for the kids too, maintaining their grip on a moving leg. And fun too!

A blank page.

Our children come into the world, much like a blank page but with personality. A blue page, or a pink or a textured page but blank. The underlying being is there but the words have not been written, and especially not engraved in stone. What do we decide to teach them? There are so many possibilities, important things like, numbers, letters, names for things, to get along with other kids, look both ways when they cross the street, and to not pick their noses in the middle of ballet class.

I believe that for me the most important thing I can teach my children is a love of physical activity. Except I didn’t need to teach them this, they were born with it. (The way I may have influenced my children and their physicality was by being as physically active as I could be while I was pregnant. I ran, I stretched, I did yoga, push-ups, lifted weights, and walked many miles a day. So, my kids came out running give or take about 9 months. Check my fitness pregnancy blog if you want more details. An excellent resource if you are considering being active during your pregnancy is the book Exercising Through Your Pregnancy by James F Clapp III MD and remember to consult your ob/gyn or midwife.) I’m sure most, if not all children, are born with this love of being physical, the need to explore the world around them and the only way to do that is by moving.

Let the crawlers and toddlers be active, get out of their way, be close, spot the adventurous ones, but also let them fall, let them climb, pick them up, let them explore some more. And so quickly the toddler years are over. Preschool years begin and we, as parents, begin our anxiety about schooling our kids. Relax. Let the preschool years and early elementary years still be about motor skills, both fine and gross motor skills. You can focus on their “schooling” from first or second grade until they are through high school and into college. School will not keep your kids active, in fact it’s the beginning of a decline into adult sedentary living!

So let your kids be active! Have a cartwheel competition, a handstand competition, a jump on one foot competition, a bridge competition. Just do it with your kids! Let them see your love of being active, of sweating, of exercising, of playing a sport, and then give them an airplane ride or wrestle a bit.

Airplane

Super-storm Sandy, Super Wrestling, and Super Heroes

There was very little official exercise happening during the super-storm in our apartment. The only excuse I have is that I was suffering from a cold and feeling that I really needed some rest, and well, there was a hurricane blowing over us. My kids were active in our relatively small apartment. Handstand competitions, races were held along with somersaulting on my bed, but mostly a whole lot of wrestling. Although the wrestling episodes would frequently contain a bruised nose, knee, head or elbow, after a kiss from me the wrestling would recommence. Watching them I was reminded of how important physical closeness is and how wonderful it is that siblings can be close in this physical way. Additional bonus: wrestling requires the use of all the muscles in the body, especially the muscles for deep laughter.

Super Hero!

Halloween being on the other side of the hurricane, left us ready to get out and see the world, with a bit more vigor than usual. Lots of walking to get to the local Halloween festivities in Fort Greene. Followed by a good walk home carrying my three year old on my shoulders. Then the real exercise began: the super hero (the Green Lantern) led the way. My 3 year old clown, following her brother, the super hero’s example, walked from the third floor of our building all the way up to the 16th floor in the quest for treats (no 13th floor), and again from the 17th to the 24th floor with me trailing behind them. While my son continued up from the 25th to the 30th floor under his own steam, I did carry the three year old and her 3 pounds of candy. (In case you didn’t do the math: that was 19 flights of stairs for a 3 year old and 24 for the 6 year old. That’s a lot! ) I would have preferred the elevator, but really this was a much better way to ascend our building. We burned a few calories before consuming excessively!

Walls, Balls, and Racquets

Urban spaces have a lot to offer. Having spent my childhood in rural Vermont this was an unexpected discovery. A simple cement wall, or the side of a brownstone, a smooth surface, a hand ball, add a child and a surrounding fence to keep bouncing balls from escaping, now a game of catch can commence. Throw the ball at the wall and the wall throws it back.

 

I got it!

  I got it!

 

Add another child, or two, or an adult, and a competitive game, called “homicide” at my son’s elementary school, can begin. Do they all know the definition of “homicide”? Probably not the younger ones, in fact a three year old calls it “messiah”. This game, with it’s evolving rules, created and agreed upon by the child participants, is an intense form of exercise! A fantastic way to improve hand-eye coordination, throwing strength, accuracy, agility, and if you are playing competitively, you will increase your heart rate. Basic rules: throw the ball at the wall. Catch the ball after one bounce, throw again. Catch the ball with one hand, without a bounce, you can throw the ball at any other competitor unless they reach the wall (safety) first. If you touch the ball, but don’t catch it any other participant who catches the ball can throw it at you. Again you have the option to run to safety first. Interval training at it’s best!

Bring a racquet with you, tennis balls or the hand ball, and the wall can become a fierce competitor with a rapid return. Bring two or three racquets and all sorts of games can be created.

The best part of these simple urban games is that even a six year old, a three year old, and an adult can all find a variation that is fun to play, together or separately!

Exercise and Folding Laundry: Are they compatible?

The answer today is yes!

This morning I wanted to exercise, however a couple loads of laundry were piled up on the couch waiting to be folded. Two (or more) things needed to be done and only time for one. That seems to be the mother’s daily dilemma. I solved this dilemma to my satisfaction by jogging in place while folding the laundry. This was a super low impact workout, not intense, and only 12-15 minutes in duration. I jogged and folded, jogged and placed the clothes in the appropriate pile. One for me, one for my husband, one for my daughter and one for my son. And jogged some more. Folding the sheets was a little tricky and trippy, but possible. And Voila! Laundry done, heart rate moderately raised, and the 3 year old joined me for some stretches.

It was a good morning for movement.