Easy Exercise Programs
Exercise programs often seem difficult, and thus, many people do not commit to being physically active. However, any exercise is good for your body.
Four Popular Ways To Stay Fit
Walking: Visit just about any mall in the country early in the morning and you’ll likely see several seniors taking a fast walk around the mall. They know that many experts consider walking to be the best form of exercise. Walking works both your muscles and your heart at the same time. It’s easy, quick (a 10-15 minute walk can do wonders), and you can do it just about anywhere.
Swimming: Swimming is easy on your joints. This no-impact form of exercise conditions your heart and muscles without putting wear and tear on your knees and ankles.
Yoga: Yoga is a proven way to gain muscle strength and improve your flexibility. Yoga also improves your posture, balance and coordination. It also calms the mind and relaxes the body.
Light Weights: Working out with a pair of 2- or 5-lb. dumbbells is an easy way to improve muscle tone. It also helps with your agility and increases your metabolism, so you’re less likely to gain weight. Don’t have any weights at home? Then use what’s handy around the house: a can of peaches or water bottles. You can even make vacuuming a good workout for your arms and legs.
Callout: If you are beginning a new exercise program, don’t forget to consult with your physician about what’s right for you.
Camouflage Fitness (Activities for Kids)
Having kids run a mile or perform push-ups and sit-ups may be good for their bodies, but could turn them off exercise. Camouflaged physical activity makes getting fit interesting, fun and more in keeping with a child’s natural way of moving. Tag games, walk/ run/jump activities and fitness circuits and relays provide the same benefits as more structured exercise, but are better tolerated by young kids. Take traditional games, give them new names and contemporary themes and you’ve got your classes planned.
Try these camouflaged-exercise games. (Unless noted otherwise, they are geared for kids ages 3 to 7.)
Tail Tag. Use this cardiorespiratory endurance activity during your warm-up or fitness development section. Give each child a strip of plastic or cloth (try cutting trash bags into strips) to put in her waistband to represent a tail. Children try to pull each other’s tails while avoiding getting their own tails pulled. Every time a child pulls someone else’s tail, she places it in her waistband next to her original tail. If all her tails get pulled, she must stop in place and try to grab a tail from others as they pass by. She must grab a tail before reentering the game.
Top Gun. Use this fun cardiovascular and muscular endurance activity in the warm-up or fitness development section. Children begin by lying on their stomachs. When you yell, “Start your engines,” the children rise to a hands-and-knees position and perform push-ups. Next instruct them to “take off” (fly around the exercise area) and land (stop, roll to their backs and perform crunches). This game can also be used in the cool-down section if you ask the children to move slowly when flying and spend the majority of time on push-ups and sit-ups.
Builders and Bulldozers. Try this activity in the warm-up and fitness development sections. Divide children into two groups. Group one is made up of builders and group two of bulldozers. Place small cones, in a scattered formation, in the exercise area. Knock some of the cones over and leave the others standing. On your signal, the builders stand the cones up and the bulldozers knock them over. After about 30 seconds the groups switch roles.