Archive for the ‘Strength’ Category

Parent Playground #3

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

-Bouncing your kids up and down using your hands, arms, feet, knees and legs. Do this while standing, sitting, laying down, etc.  Don’t just do it for 30 seconds. This is exercise for you and fun for your kiddo. Make it last! Mother bounces her daughter on her thigh

-Do the above bouncing, and invent a story to go with it, like “Pizza Man”.  The videographer is 5 years old.

-Let your kids “clean” with their feet or upside down with their hands as you drag them around like in this video. I’m not sure if the parent or child is getting the best exercise here, but both are having fun!

“Skate” with towels under your feet. Give your kids towels and spray and let them help clean the floor/exercise with you. Sliding and/or cleaning exercise

-Put a laundry basket on a blanket, have your child climb in, and push and pull them around the house. I am surprised every time how high my heart rate goes the first minute.  It’s the same with pulling them on a blanket at the beach or on a sled in the snow. Super high intensity interval training!

 

Peek-a-boo walking planks

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

The runner PattiSue Plumer said “Workouts are like brushing my teeth; I don’t think about them, I just do them. The decision has already been made.” Peek-a-boo

Like brushing our teeth, we play with our children daily too. Combine kid time with exercise time!  Try peek-a-boo walking planks!  Do the planks super slow, super fast, and side-ways. Really. Always side-ways too!

Exaggerate the arms and legs while pulling your navel up.  Have speed and/or distance races.  Throw in push-ups in the middle for more challenge/strength. If you want to make it even more fun, try wheelbarrows.

Some of the most Inspiring Athletes

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

The most common reason people give for not exercising is lack of time.  As a parent of two children who works inside and outside the home, I understand.

Some of the people I admire most are athletes who have to go above and beyond to exercise. Yes, they have to prioritize their time, but they also have to put on a prosthetic, change wheelchairs, and demonstrate amazing drive to bring fitness into their lives.Inspiring Athletes

One organization I really admire is the Challenged Athletes Foundation. For 20 years, they have helped people of all ages, wounded soldiers and “individuals with physical challenges who desire a balanced  life of work, family, friends and fitness.” They partner athletes with a mentor who has similar challenges, so confidence and skill is passed on.  They are an outstanding organization that truly partners fitness with family and friends and changes lives.  If you want a goal this summer, train for one of CAF’s many fundraising events.

Next time you are wondering if you have time to work out, feel like it’s too hot/cold, are tired, or fill-in-the-excuse here, think about the challenged athletes who go for it. Whether they compete in Ironmans (notice the range of ages in the pictures) dance,  go for a bike ride, snowboard (watch this one!) or compete in the Paralympic Games (there are 28 competitive sports from rowing to wheelchair fencing!), be inspired, be moved — figuratively and literally.

If you want more inspiration, some other great organizations for adaptive athletes are Adaptive Action Sports, Extremity Games, and Disabled Sports USA, and Athletes with disAbilities Network.

Parent Playground #2

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

A lot of these games parents will do once or twice and call it quits. I say continue on, let your shoulders fatigue holding your child above your head, let your legs shake from exhaustion of letting your kids “fly”, allow your heart rate to soar playing together while getting exercise at the very same time. It’s crazy fun and super effective.

Some more parent playground games:

-“Wrestle” in whatever way that you (or they) create.  I hold my son between my legs and he has to get out. I’m not allowed to use my hands, so I just squeeze him with my legs.  I’m continually amazed at the variations of wrestling and all the rules and regulations that he comes up with.  Here is one adult variation.

-Rest your mini one on your shins while you lie on your back. If they are facing you, you take their hands. Count “1,2,3” and quickly fling them over your head in a flip onto their feet.  Watch this video so it makes better sense:

 

 

-Repeat above but have them face away from you. Or, if they are too young, just play “kissing crunches” and give them kisses each time you bring your knees close to your face. Pilates Prop

-Hand-slap plank games like I described here. So much fun!High Five Game

 

Parent Playground #1

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Currently, my kids are 5 and almost 7. They want to be picked up, carried, flung and thrown as much as ever.  When I sit them on top of my feet and “airplane” them like I did when they were just one-year old, they’d happily play until I couldn’t extend my legs anymore. I once played for 75 minutes —back and forth between them. I considered it my lower body workout for the day. When we finally stopped and I said I was going to make dinner, they begged me for more! I couldn’t believe it!

There is no end to the Parent Play Ground! Truly, no limits but your imagination and the stamina of everyone involved. Parent Play Ground

Here are some games to start the fun:

-Be the limbo stick. Let your child quickly crawl underneath you while you lower or rise up out of a push-up. It’s pretty hilarious to “squash” them.

-Play “parent push-over.” Sit on the floor, engage your abs and lean back a little bit. Have your kids try to push you backwards while you resist.  When they “win”, roll backwards and then roll up and start again.  Think of “weebles wobble but they don’t fall down”.

Mom gives high five to infant while doing a plank-Try wheelbarrows together. 

-Be a bridge, in a plank on your back (hips lifted) and let the kids crawl under you and on top. Give them a ride as you raise and lower your hips, or do push-ups. Parent Play Ground

-Play “catch” and let them run toward you and leap into your arms. Feel free to swing them above your head or around in circles. I catch my kids mid torso rather than by their hands so I don’t hurt our wrists, elbows, shoulders and backs.

-Play “I’m gonna get you”  and then pick them up and kiss or tickle them. I can’t tell you how popular this is.

Stay tuned over the next few months for many games to play. I broke them into multiple posts so they’d be easier to digest, try and internalize. Be mindful of your back, wrists and neck while playing. It’s easy to get distracted playing with your kiddo and forget form. Oh, and don’t really squash your kid! Unless their tweens and up. Then it counts as wrestling (coming in parent playground #2).

Physical Chess

Saturday, March 1st, 2014

“Fencing is like playing chess with your body at 100 miles per hour. In competition, the only thing that moves faster than a fencing sword is a speeding bullet,”  explains Carla Corbit, the head coach for Caltech’s Fencing Club.

How cool is that? Physical chess!  Size up an opponent, develop a plan of “attack” with speed and high technique, and an intense game is played with such focus, it’s almost a meditation.Fencing

There are three traditional weapons in fencing (foil, épée and saber) as well as the gear to protect you. There are many places that teach fencing, and classes range in age from children to adults.

Recently, my kids went to a Star Wars birthday party and were taught to joust with a balloon light saber. Is this how it starts? Is Star Wars a modern version of fencing?

Pantomime or for real, fencing will get your heart rate up, your reflexes revived, your mind sharpened and your body strong. Give it a try and see if physical chess is for you.  At the very least, when you practice with your kid(s), you’ll crack up with laughter (which is my favorite way to work my “core”).

Swing into a Strong Core

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

Strength in Numbers

How long can you hold a plank on a swing? What if the swing moves side to side? Front to back? Be sure your back and wrists stay in neutral.   Here are some ideas for more fun at the playground, and moves that are super effective. Compete with your kids, your friends, or yourself. One parent I know keeps track in his phone of how long he can hold a plank. Then he beats his number next time.

Try it the other way, with your feet on the swing.  Put both feet on the swing while your hands or forearms are planted on the ground.  Do moving tuck or pike crunches.  Or swing your legs side to side. Keep your feet up and do unstable push-ups.

Turn and hold a side plank with both feet on the swing, hand or forearm on the ground (relax your neck/throat).  How long can you hold this in proper position? Can you raise and lower your hips? It’s challenging which makes it super fun!

How will you get a great start on the New Year?

Hoola Monsters Contest

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

By Guest Family Fitness Mom Erica M.

Focus on Family Fitness is having a contest! We’ve learned about a fun hoola hoop & DVD program for kids – just in time for the holiday season.  Jr. Hooper Molly goes on a fun adventure to Hoolaville – a vibrant, funky village filled with super hooping creatures. Kids will play, laugh and hoop dance to original music.Hoola Monster Peaking

Check out a clip of the video here. http://hoolamonsterkids.com/

Since we celebrate family fitness – especially with all the temptations around the holidays – we are having a giveaway sponsored by the Hoola Monsters. Share a photo of your crew in action and you could win the hoop & DVD kit for a healthy new year!

Use the holiday vacation to take pictures and try new healthy activities together.  Best photo wins! Send pictures to Kim@FocusOnFamilyFitness.comHoola Monster

Contest ends January 1st. Photos may be used on website.

Adult and Kid Playgrounds

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Vita-courseWhat’s a fun and free fitness activity you can all play together over Thanksgiving? The middle school near my house has a public exercise circuit, Parcourse or fitness trail — you know, the ones with the metal posts showing exercises like in this picture, and sometimes there are benches or bars where people can do exercises.

VitaCourses (a brand name of exercise circuits), Parcourses, and/or fitness trails are all around the country, so wherever you are on Thanksgiving, you can find one near you. Kids have formalized playgrounds. VitaCourses are kind of formalized playgrounds for adults that kids can do, too. Go try it, it’s fun!

I used to push my daughter to the school in the stroller for my warm-up, then get her out of the stroller, and she would do the VitaCourse stations witFitness Circuith me as a game. Now that she is older, she rides her bike to the track and challenges me to the circuit.

It’s easy to stand there and watch her play, so I remind myself that it’s more fun and healthier for both of us to move through the circuit. Her step-ups and push-ups are as hard for her as they are for me based on our weight and size. She thinks these are the most fun things in the world because we are doing it together. I’m not talking on my phone. I’m not checking email. I’m outside with her; we’re doing the exact same thing – making up crazy movements around the course, creating lasting memories for both of us. Oh, and we’re also getting a great work-out. Family fitness indeed!

Can’t find a circuit near you? Try some of these games over the holidays instead: active vacay, object race, hand slap plank game or scavenger hunt. Have a game or activity your family loves? Take a picture! Focus on Family Fitness has a contest coming up for the best active family photo.  Details are coming!

Climb

Monday, October 14th, 2013

One of my favorite sports is rock climbing. I love rock climbing so much that I named my cat after the carabiner used to connect me to the rope. When I climb up the rock, focused on where to put my foot next, the day’s stresses disappear. I get to the top (or not) and feel like I can solve any problem beforeRock Climb me. Perhaps doing an actual gigantic physical puzzle makes everyday nuances easier.

I’ve discovered that all kids, of any age (1 to 108), gravitate toward climbing rocks. It doesn’t have to be an actual rock face that requires belays and harnesses; any pile of large rocks will do (even a big pile of hay, huge sand dunes  or super long stair cases do the trick). Walk a kid over to a pile of boulders and see what happens. Don’t stand there as a parent observing.  Have total engagement and climb too. Climb, scamper, scale, and clamber up the rocks. Get to the top and look around. Is your heart beating faster? Did you just have fun and forget everything else?

Try an official rock climbing class at a rock climbing studio or store like REI that offers weekend workshops. Don’t just climb indoors; get outside and try it, too. It’s different. Don’t use the excuse “I have no upper body strength” or climbing “is just for kids.” If you’re scared, that’s fine. Do it anyway! Be proud that not only did you try it, but also you role modeled being scared and going for it despite your fear.  As you ascend, you might just notice your mind soaring to new heights, too.