Monday, January 18, 2010

Excercise Week!

Since we learned all about our bodies last week, I thought it would be great to follow up this week with learning about excercise! I also wanted to do this while it was cold outside. It seems like when the weather is nicer the kids automatically are more active, but its the winter months that we really seem to become couch potatoes!

There are a lot of frightening statistics regarding obesity and children in the United States. My hope is that some of these activities can help my children (and myself!) see how vital excercise is, and also how fun!!

I found a FANTASTIC article on the website It had some fun excercises to do that were all named after veggies or fruits. I printed out and colored pictures of the individual fruits and veggies, and I am hoping that we can do these fun excercises everyday, and by the end of the week when I hold up the corresponding picture the kids will know what excercise that means! Here is the entire article for your viewing pleasure :)
For general warm-ups, try the "Tater Tot Trot." Jog in place and pump your arms. Every ten steps or so slowly stretch your neck, look back at the right shoulder and then at the left shoulder. For "Spud Sprints" look straight ahead and speed up to a running pace. It is important that students land on their heels and not on their toes. If fairly large plot of ground is available, try trotting on a running trail inside or outside. The "Trot" works the posterior deltoid, hamstrings, quadriceps, and illiposoas.

The "Strawberry Stretch" is a great exercise to stretch the back, arms, and shoulders. It teaches balance and coordination. First, cross your right foot in front of your left. Bend down, touch your right toe, count to eight, and then straighten up. Make sure your back stays straight and does not arch. Cross your left foot in front of your right and repeat the stretch. The "Strawberry Stretch" works the lattisimus dorsi, teres major, the triceps, and the biceps. It also engages all three parts of the deltoid, including the anterior, posterior, and the lateral parts of the shoulder.

"Pumpkin Peeler" works the legs, back, arms, and shoulders. It also requires balance and dexterity. To perform this exercise, stand and lock your fingers together behind your back. Bend forward at the waist and keep your legs straight. With your fingers still locked, raise your arms over your head. Hold for a count of eight. This can also be done by bending at the knees. Teach the children the importance of flexibility by stretching the calf and leg muscles. The "Pumpkin Peeler" synergistically incorporates the lattismus dorsi, teres major, and deltoids, while it gently stretches the legs.

The" Sweet Pea Ski" benefits the muscles in the legs and challenges the child’s balance. One should begin with feet together. Slowly bend at the knees while swinging both your arms to the right as if you were using two ski poles on that side. Straighten up then repeat the bend and swing to the left. The "Sweet Pea" is great for the inner thigh, the hip adductor, or the gracilis. It is good for the hip flexors, the obliques, and the pectineus. This exercise offers the added benefit of working the whole gluteus, which includes the maximums, medius, and minimus.

"Pepper Pops" are great for both the beginner and the advanced exerciser. It works the legs, chest, and back. Do jumping jacks and clap above your head. For a "Pepper Pop Plus", add a right kick and a left kick with a clap under the knee while ensuring that the back stays straight. These additional movements work the erector spinae at the lower back. The muscles of the chest, namely the serratus anterior and the pectorals major, also receive a workout.

The "Broccoli Bounce" is good for the upper and lower body. Stand with hands clasped behind your heck and your elbows drawn back. Walk in place, raising your knees, bring your left elbow down to touch it. When you lift your left knee, bring your right elbow down to touch it. The "Broccoli" is good for both the hamstrings and the quadriceps. It works the smaller muscles as well as the important part of the legs, the calves, or the gastrocneumuis, soleus, tibialis anterior and the knee.

"Cauliflower Chippers" are a great way to end an aerobic session. It works the knees and the arms. Bounce up and down with your knees without taking your feet off the floor. At the same time, stretch your arms to each side and swing them in giant circles. You may also flex and extend the important yet neglected extensors and flexors of the wrists. You can change the movement of the chippers as well as cooling down by a stretch by elongating your shoulders, back, chest, and arms. The students should be encouraged to walk slowly in order to stretch their legs properly.

I am excited to one day put together an obstacle course!! As I was doing some research on line, this is a great way to help develop preschoolers large motor skills, and sounds fun too :) I am going to have to get creative to make one in my house, but crawling under things, jumping over things, and balancing are all things I want to include :)

One of our favorite ways to excercise is to DANCE :) One fun idea I had was to scroll through the music stations we have on our satelitte, and do different kind of dances that match up with the different kind of songs (fast, slow, ballet, crazy!!) Then we can talk about which muscles we were using for each different kind of dancing.

My goal for this week is simply to make my children more aware of the benefits of excercise, and to show them those benefits in a fun, easy way. Have a great week everyone!!:)

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