Chipper Activities: 3 Stretches and 3 Exercises to Try with your Kids!

September 18, 2013 at 3:19 pm 2 comments

Regardless of what age your child is, some form of physical activity is more important than you can possibly imagine! With all the video games, television, computers, etc., it’s no surprise children are becoming overweight and inactive. It is important to educate younger children about the importance of a healthy and active lifestyle. What is the best workout for children? How can you motivate children to workout? Chipper is here to help answer these kinds of questions!
To prevent injury, it is important for your child to warm up and stretch before exercising. This should include about five to ten minutes of light activity, such as walking, calisthenics (jumping jacks, bending, knee lifts), and stretching.
Stretches for kids
STRETCH 1: Child’s Pose
This aptly named yoga pose (called balasana in Sanskrit) is a good way for kids to begin and/or end a stretching session; many yoga sequences start with this pose. It’s very relaxing!Kneel with toes touching and knees spread apart. (Some people prefer to have the knees together. Try both ways to see which is more comfortable.) Slowly bend over and touch the forehead to the floor or mat. Arms can be at the sides, along the legs, palms facing up; or extended in front of the head with palms on the floor. Inhale and exhale slowly and deeply in this pose; hold child’s pose for 3 to 5 breaths.
STRETCH 2: Cat-Cow Pose
This yoga-influenced stretch is good for the spine and also strengthens the abdominal muscles. Start on all fours with the spine and neck in a neutral position (not shown). The back should be flat like a tabletop. Eyes should look straight down to the ground. As you inhale, drop the belly down and slowly lift the neck and head up. This is the cow half of the pose—picture a cow’s swayed back with bony hips.
Next, on an exhale, lift the belly and spine so the back is arched like a cat’s. Eyes should look toward the bellybutton. Alternate cat-cow stretches for 5 to 10 breaths. After the last cat pose, return to the neutral hands-and-knees position.
STRETCH 3: Tree Pose
This simple, yet very effective overhead arm stretch works the upper body, shoulders, and arms. Stand up straight with feet together (not all of our models complied, but they still benefit from the upper-body moves!). With back straight, reach arms straight up and overhead, without locking elbows.Hands can be touching, as the girls demonstrate on the right, or apart, as the boys show on the left. You can also do a very gentle back bend here. If you choose to bend backwards, keep your chin and neck lifted.
Make sure to stretch each part of your body and follow the guide below:

stretches for kids

Once you’ve stretched and loosened your muscles, it’s time to exercise! You may modify the exercises below if necessary to suit your particular circumstances. Increase or decrease the number of repetitions according to the children’s particular needs and physical ability. When you first start these exercises, correct form is more important than speed. After you become familiar with them, you may increase the speed at which you perform them. Check out some Chipper songs to get motivated to MOVE! Dance is another great way to workout with the kids while having fun!

Most of them are considered cardiovascular (aerobic) exercises as well as strength building (anaerobic) exercises. They will also help you develop balance, coordination and agility. These exercises can be performed just about anywhere with little effort. Correct supervision is a NECESSITY, and SAFETY is the primary concern. Just take it slow and increase speed as you go!

EXERCISE 1: Jumping Jacks

Straighten body with arms at sides, then jump while spreading legs and arms apart. Then repeat! Once you and your little one(s) get good, try choosing a fun song and jump to the beat. Chipper’s Into the Great Outdoors CD has an array of fun tunes to listen to. Count as you go and see how high you can get!

EXERCISE 2: Slalom Jump

While standing straight up with your feet together, squat down about half way, leaning slightly forward. Put your left arm in front of you and your right arm in back (running position). Lean and jump to the right while swinging your arms in the opposite position and keeping your feet together.

You should now be to the right of your original starting position with your right arm in front of you, your left arm in back and your feet together with your knees bent in a crouched position.

Now lean and jump back to your original position while swinging your arms back to their original position. (when you become comfortable with these exercises, you may increase their effectiveness by adding ankle and wrist weights (1-3 lbs.) when performing them). Perform 2 sets of 15-20 reps or whatever you feel comfortable with. Remember, you don’t want to over do it! Listen to your body as you go.

EXERCISE 3: Trunk Rotations

From a straight standing position with your hands on your hips, rotate your upper body as far as possible in each direction. This exercise should be done with a smooth even motion. Do not rotate fast or jerk your body but have fun! Perform 2 sets of 15-20 reps.

Exercises for kids

All exercises labelled above incorporate both cardiovascular (aerobic) and strength (anaerobic) work which involves most of the time “whole body” exercises that encourage the children to train their sense of balance and coordination which are integral in the progressive development of a child’s physiological systems.

Health benefits can be derived simply from becoming more physically active, but the greatest benefits come from engaging in planned and structured exercise. Cardiovascular risk factors can be reduced and physical fitness enhanced with low to moderate levels of physical activity (40-60% of a person’s maximal aerobic capacity) (Blair & Connelly, 1996).

And, low- to moderate-intensity activity is less likely than vigorous exercise to cause musculoskeletal injury and sudden heart attack death during exercise (a very rare occurrence even for vigorous exercisers), while it is more likely to promote continued adherence to activity (Blair & Connelly, 1996; NIH, 1995).

Current recommendations state that children and adolescents should strive for at least 30 minutes daily of moderate intensity physical activity (Pate, Pratt et al., 1995). They may be getting this at school but an extra walk around the block each day helps you AND your child!

An alternate approach that may be equally beneficial would be to engage in 5- (Blair & Connelly, 1996) to 10-minute (NIH, 1995) bouts of moderate intensity activity throughout the day, for a total accumulation of at least 30 minutes for adolescents and adults and 60 minutes for children (Pangrazi, Corbin, & Welk, 1996).

Walking briskly or biking for pleasure or transportation, swimming, engaging in sports and games, participating in physical education, and doing tasks in the home and garden may all contribute to accumulated physical activity. Not to mention ,spending just 10 minutes a day outside increases attention span and lowers stress!

All things aside, at the end of the day, all a child wants to do is to have FUN! They want to be constantly stimulated from one day to the next. Their minds are always shifting from one thing to the next, so when provided with all the variables, the best workout needs to be designed specifically and especially for their needs. Getting active with them everyday help them form healthy habits for their entire life so Let’s Go Chipper for Healthy Habits! Find more Healthy Chipper Activities to try here or share some of your with us!

Entry filed under: Chipper Activities, Chipper Exercise, Educational activities, Healthy Choices, Let's Go Chipper, Nature-inspired play-based learning, parenting tips. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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