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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Exercise with the Kiddos...

I love this article about circuit training with children. This is a perfect way to make physical activity fun!
The kids will love the activities and they will love that Mom and/or Dad are doing them too.
Plus if you don't have time to squeeze in your workout this is a great way to get some exercise while playing with the kids.

Family Fun: Circuit Training #1
By kristen_deleo

Last week I wrote about the concept of circuit training and how simple it is to do at home with your family. (See Family Circuit Training [1].) From an exercise science point of view, the benefit of circuit training is the ability to get your cardiovascular and strength training done in one shot. But from the point of view of an experienced children's fitness instructor, the benefit of circuit training is the ability to keep kids entertained with an ever-changing array of equipment and activity at each station.All of the family circuits presented here will include stations simply labeled “Cardio,” “Muscle,” and “Fun.” The “Fun” stations will often focus on coordination and balance, but sometimes they may just be good, old-fashioned fun.Here’s what you’ll need for

Family Circuit #1:
Paper plates or orange cones
Jump ropes (one child size, one adult)
Canned food
Plastic Bouncy Ball
Beach Towel or exercise mat
Bubble wrap cut into a large square

Set up your circuit stations wherever you have the most space in your home. It may be the family room, the garage, or even the backyard. Warm-up together as a family for five minutes. This may be as simple as walking around the block. But if you have one of those kids who loves the spotlight, let him or her lead the family in a short warm-up to music. Next the family disperses to the stations.

Station #1 Cardio
Jump rope:
This station will need the most room.

Station #2 Muscle
Bicep curls: Use the canned food as hand weights for the kids. Parents may want to substitute the cans with heavier hand weights at this station. It’s important to emphasize proper form for the bicep curls. Older kids will invariably say the canned food is too light. The point is for them to learn proper form first (shoulders back, abs tight, knees slightly bent) to prepare them for heavier weights.

Station #3 Cardio/Muscle
Ball Hop
: Using your adductor muscles (inner thigh), squeeze a ball between your knees as you hop to the rhythm of the music.

Station #4 Cardio/Muscle
Boxing: Let the little ones get their aggression out with jabs and upper cuts (not on each other!). Keep your heart rate up by staying “light on your feet,” rocking side to side. Kids love to punch targets. Ideally there would be a parent available at this station to hold a pillow as a target. (For extra fun, you can purchase inflatable clowns that are weighted at the bottom. They make excellent targets.)

Station #5 Muscle
The Plank: Kids like this exercise because of its analogy to pirates “walking the plank.” Lie face down on a towel or mat, with your arms bent at the elbows, palms down. Curl your toes under and lift your entire body about one inch off the floor so that your toes and forearms are supporting your weight. This exercise engages a multitude of muscles in the body. Keep your body aligned, straight as a plank. (See photo.) For kids, I use the cue, “No stinkbugs!” to remind them to keep their rear from rising up. Also, you’d be surprised how easy it is to forget to breathe during this exercise. Both kids and adults need to be reminded to inhale and exhale.

Station #6 Cardio/Fun
The Pop!:
As you’re well aware, kids love to make noise. At this station you can jump, stomp, or dance on the square of bubble wrap to pop your way to a good workout. Yep, it’s fun. You might need a back-up piece.

A good length of time at each station is about 30 seconds. Family members can take turns being in charge of watching the clock and yelling “Next station!” If space permits you can increase your number of stations by adding a “free” station between each regular station. A free station doesn’t require any equipment and remains the same through out the circuit. For example, if the family chooses jogging in place as the free station, each participant would jog in place every time before moving on to the next established station. You can mark the free station with an orange cone or a paper plate. The kids can use markers to write “jog in place” on the plate. Other ideas for free stations include jumping jacks, and dances like The Twist or Macarena.

Repeat the circuit until you get in a good twenty minutes of activity. Fun music will help you and your kids to stay motivated. Finish with a five-minute cool down and stretch.

As a mom, I realize circumstances don’t always allow you to accomplish everything you have planned. In reality, you may not have the time, space, or energy to create the perfect family circuit. Remember that any activity is better than no activity. So leave out a couple stations or improvise if needed. The goal is to establish healthy habits for your family by allocating time to move and sweat together.
Check back in the coming weeks for Family Circuit #2.
Source URL: http://www.healthnews.com/blogs/kristen-deleo/fitness-exercise/family-fun-circuit-training-1-3816.html

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