Archive for November, 2012

Sit Down

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Sit on the edge of a stable non-folding chair. Sit up tall, as if a string is holding you up from the ceiling, keeping your core turned on. Stop immediately if you feel any back pain at all.  A toddler to teen can do this sitting next to you and you can hold a baby on your lap.  Can you hold this position, breathing naturally, shoulders relaxed? Yes?

Then start your timer and play the following rounds with your child to see who can hold the best form for the longest. You can call yourself or each other “out” for poor form, or name yourself the winner for strongest and longest time held in position.  Each sequence below is harder than the previous, so if #3 is too challenging, don’t move on to #4.

1-Keep a good sitting position as above with both feet on the the ground, tilting back about 3 inches. If you want it harder, put your arms above your head. Do not lean back against the chair. (The picture looks like her shoulders are touching, but they are not. Go strong Momma!)

2-With nice body alignment as above, pick one foot off the ground and hold for as long as you can. Bent knee is easier, straight leg is harder.

3-With proper body position, do as in #2 but with the other foot.

4-Still with a strong core, lift both legs off the floor. Again, if you feel this in your back, do not play/compete with this version.

5-Pick one version from the previous four and play as your arms “swim” around you.

6-With good form, pass a ball, rolled up sock or balloon back and forth. The person who can hold good form the longest wins.

7-Start from the beginning but do it all while sitting on a rocking chair, a ball or a swing.

Try this when you are waiting for dinner to finish cooking, sitting in an airplane, or whenever you have a few moments to “sit” down.

An Apple a Day Poem

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

Sums up the “why”. Want to be nudged toward exercise? This poem will help.


Monument Game

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

Climb real stairs and virtually get to the top of real monuments! The game Monumental uses your iphone’s accelerometer to see how high you’ve climbed. When you reach the top of the monument you’ve picked, collect virtual souvenirs and enjoy the view!

Using Facebook, you can connect with family and friends who also use the free app and see who has climbed the most stairs today, this week or for all time. My bet is on Mom winning…

Have fun in this live video game that pairs virtual entertainment with family/friends and fitness!

Throw Something

Friday, November 16th, 2012

When we were camping recently, I was trying to keep my children happily occupied as my partner graciously cleaned up the tent and sleeping bags. We were all exhausted and antsy. I looked down at the pine cones under my feet and dared my kids to throw them as far as the downed log near our campsite. We all picked up pine cones and started lobbing them.

Then we picked up little sticks, rocks and branch clusters and threw them. We put a few lines in the dirt with our feet and made the “goal”  (over the log) farther and farther away as we were more and more successful. It dawned on me that not only were we suddenly having fun, we were exercising. We hadn’t meant to squeeze fitness in, it just happened and we all felt better for it.

After a long drive home, we were all tired and antsy again. I decided to play the same game at home while my partner unpacked the car, except we used pillows. Ever tell a child to purposely throw their pillow as far as they can? Then tell them to beat your pillow throws? Can you throw it fast? Slow? High? Low? Hit a target? Make a goal? Under your leg? Behind your back? Juggle? I don’t think there is a kid any age who won’t happily huck a pillow (or anything they don’t normally use as a ball) and stay grumpy for long. I was still tired, and so were my kids, but it was a content-long-weekend tired rather than grumpy tired.  Experiment yourself.

If you want to get into it, pay attention to your leg stride, how you transfer your weight from back to front, and where your shoulders and hips are in relation to your targets. Change throwing arms, be sure your core is turned on. Experiment some more. Change what you throw each week  such as balls, darts, water balloons, shoes, rolled up socks, etc. Keep track of how far, how fast, how long you can go and if you improved over the week. Throw something, anything, and see what happens!


Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

“There are as many reasons for running as there are days in the year, years in my life. But mostly I run because I am an animal and a child, an artist and a saint. So, too, are you. Find your own play, your own self-renewing compulsion, and you will become the person you are meant to be.” George Sheehan

Drum Up Some Fitness

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Bam! Slam! Dink! Donk! Tap! Smash! Brrrr….!  These are the noises of people experimenting with sound, hitting things, drumming and having musical exercise. How?

Pick up something that is safe to hit with: sticks, spoons, spatulas, shoes, markers or actual drum sticks. Find things that are safe to hit: beds, pillows, couches, the floor, carpet, grass, trees, sidewalks, buckets, etc.  Now hit something! Loud, hard, soft, quick, slow, high, low, or fancy.

Fancy? Stand on one foot; now the other; now drum while squatting, lunging, walking, dancing, lying down, doing sit ups, side planks, etc. Find a rhythm and play away.

Drumming can get your heart rate up so high and be such a great workout that there are even group exercise classes where participants drum together.  Take your teen and check out Pound or Drums Alive, two classes that get your heart pumping while drumming away.

Fun Fact:

Marcus Smith, an exercise physiologist at the University of Chichester in England, studied Clem Burke, the drummer in the band Blondie. Over eight years, Burke’s heart rate, oxygen uptake and lactic acid were measured while playing drums on tour. The drummer averaged a heart rate of 140-150 beats per minute. In other words, he got a great workout! Can you?

Favorite Pilates Prop

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

I’m Gonna Catch You!

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Yep, like the game “Tag” where one person is “it” and tries to touch an opponent to make them “it”.  Run like crazy, make new rules, laugh a lot, and have a new family game.  How to make new rules? Ask your kids! Here are a few variations to choose from:

-A person is “safe” when jumping. Any and all jumping counts: jumping jacks, jumping in place, jumping on and and off of something. As long as a person is jumping, he/she can’t be tagged
-Doing push-ups, sit-ups, squats, or any other chosen exercise consistently-it either makes you “safe” or someone calls out the word and everyone has to do it
-You are “safe” while singing a song at the top of your lungs
-Calling out a fruit or vegetable name right before being tagged makes you “safe”
-Balancing on one foot or in a plank keeps you from being tagged
-Holding hands with another friend/family member makes you “safe”
-Holding a ball above your head while running and dribbling it before being tagged, or just dribble it the whole game and “tag” the ball
-Add any “prop” or equipment to the game to change it around such as a wooden spoon, blankets, blocks, or “magic” leaves that deem you “safe” if you are the holder, thrower, balancer, passer, or…?

The variation is endless. Figure out what works for you and the age of your family. Play it during big holidays when there is extended family, form teams and keep time and score. Or don’t. Either way, yelling “I’m gonna catch you!” while chasing each other is guaranteed exercise fun. Playing hard has many benefits: it’s good interval and multi-directional training, and explosive conditioning all at once!