Sunday, April 3, 2011

Get Fit and Active With the Kids This Spring Break!

Did you see it? I thought I saw it there for a minute...could it really have been the sun? Well, depending on where you live, it looks like just MAYBE spring weather is making good on the season and that means a few things. First, it means that at least one excuse not to exercise is officially busted: the weather outside IS nice, inviting, and begging for you to get out there and get physical. Secondly, it means that there are lots of fitness related events and activities on the horizon that you can (should) sign-up for and take part in. Thirdly, it means that spring break is happening here, yes the dates may be a bit different depending on school schedules, but if you're a parent you'll be needing a way to keep those kids busy...and for that the topic of this blog!

One cause that I feel really passionate about is getting kids active and moving! Every time I hear about another school cuttings sports programs and physical education classes it gets me fired up all over again. Being active and exercising is SO important and not only because we have a serious obesity problem. Kids that participate in sports learn and develop other skills that translate over into other areas of their life. Things such as discipline, setting and reaching their goals, and also developing self-esteem. I could go on and on, but back on track; if kids aren't going to be getting active in a school setting then it's up to parents to find outlets for them to get it.

Instilling a passion for using their body and exercising is something that should be done young; parents then should set an example. There are plenty of ways to do this and when the kids are on break, one great way is to get the whole family out there and moving together. Working out doesn't always have to be thought of as a regimented type of thing and for kids an excellent thing to do is make it a game. Take them to the soccer field and challenge them to a game; go do basketball, rugby, football, whatever you like. Just make sure that you're not lulling around but instead working up a sweat...running up and down that field.

Take it to the streets and get running, biking, rollerblading. There are local road races that are usually going on this time of year; look for one a few weeks ahead, sign up, and then use that as motivation to get everyone out and training for this together. Kids are naturally a bit more competitive and you can use this to your advantage...not just to get them moving but for parents too! Take a look at one of our workout videos and do it with the kids; I'll bet that their extra energy pushes you to go harder yourself!

You can also make up your own little exercise 'games.'> Take the kids out to the park and set up an obstacle course. To get your creative juices flowing here's an idea:
  • Use some cones and mark off a large rectangle. If you've got a soccerfield you can use the corners of the half-field marks. If not, space the corners out about that distance. Then put a cone in the middle of the rectangle.
  1.  Everyone start at the middle cone inside the rectangle. This will be Station One. Begin with 10 push-ups. 
  2. Get up, and run to one of the corner cones, Station Two, and do 10 squat jumps.
  3. Run back to center Station One, tag the cone, run back to Station Two and tag the cone; then run clear across to the opposite corner and stay at Station Three. Here do 30 crunches.
  4. Get up, run to center Station One, run back to Station Three; now run forward to the corner cone in front of you, Station Four. Here do another 10 push-ups.
  5. Get up, run to center Station One, back to Station Four, then run diagonally across the rectangle to the final cone Station Five. Here, do 10 Burpees...OUCH!! hehe.
  6. Finally, get up and run the perimeter of the rectangle...and the winner is the first person to finish.
However you get you and your family up and moving...get out and DO IT!!! Exercise and being healthy, fit adults begins with being active kids. So while school is out for spring break, take the chance to teach that very important lesson to the wee ones by getting them outside and under this sun...because I swear I did see the sun out there. :)

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