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4 Great Exercises for Kids

4 Great Exercises for Kids

09.01.2012.

By Omar Elamam

Ever wonder why kids always complain about doing any sort of work that involves movement of any sort? It’s because to them it seems dull and is missing the fun factor to it. Whatever it is that you want your kids to do, it must have some sort of “wow” factor to it. It must be both appealing to them, and most of all it has to be functional. That is, if you’re looking to engage your child in any sort of activity or exercise, it should be associated to something they can relate to on a daily basis. For example, a child tying his/her shoe laces can be translated into stationary lunge where the child targets their hamstring and gluteus maximus. Simple, fun and functional exercises are what parents should be searching for. The following is a list of some basic exercises/stretches your child can perform on their own;

1) Frog Jumps

Technique

This sounds silly, but it’s quite a work out. Starting in a kneeling position, start on the ball of your feet with hands between the legs, and knees facing at a 45 degree angle. Explode off the ground moving in a forward motion, each time landing on both feet with knees bent. As you land, you should be crouched down before proceeding to the next jump.

Muscles Worked

Quadriceps, gluteus maximus, gastrocnemius (calf’s) and hamstrings.

Level of difficulty

5 out of 10.

Fun Factor

8 out of 10.

2) Crab Walk

Technique    

This is probably the closest that we, as human beings, will be related to the ‘Crustacea subphylum’. Lie with back on the ground, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift back off the floor while keeping feet and hands in contact with the ground. Proceed to walk while using only hands and feet in a forward position. This can be performed with the body facing forwards or backwards.

Muscles Worked

Bicep brachii, Tricep brachii, and rectus abdominus.

Level of difficulty

7 out of 10.

Fun Factor

8 out of 10.

3) Jumping Double Side Kick

Technique

Yeah–it’s as cool as it sounds. With feet shoulder-width apart, jump as high as you can while spreading both legs out in a full extension. It is important to keep your knees locked, as opposed to bent. As you extend your legs in the air, spread your arms out and try to reach each hand with the corresponding foot. Although you’re not actually kicking anything, the motion that you’re performing is what is important. This is what is known as a dynamic stretch, or hyperextension, in which movement occurs beyond the normal joint range of motion.

Muscles Worked

Adductor longus, hip abductors, and gluteus maximus.

Level of difficulty

9 out of 10.

Fun Factor

7 out of 10.

4) Duck Walk

Technique

This will make you realize how difficult ducks have it, and will make you humble yourself before it the next time you cross its path. Similar to the frog jump, start off the ground while bending the knees. Place your hands behind your head and angle your feet to 45 degrees facing the outside angle. Proceed to move forward without standing up. Fully rotate the hips while moving forward. As you gain ground, keep body position as low to the floor as possible. Feel free to yell out a ‘Quack’ or two while moving.

Muscles Worked

Quadriceps, soleus, gastrocnemius, gluteus maximus, and hip flexors.

Level of difficulty

10 out of 10.

Fun Factor

10 out of 10.

I hope this was as fun for you to read as it was for me to write. I have been working with kids for a few years now and have recently opened an after school program for kids in the Kanata area. It is such a pleasure working with young minds and watching these young minds grow and develop in front of your eyes.

I am also a veteran rickshaw runner, going into my 5th season. Ottawa Rickshaws has been great with me and is my favorite pastime. Not only do I enjoy the thrill of running the streets of Ottawa with joyful passengers in the back, but I get to meet so many different people. It would take me a full year to write out my experiences that I have enjoyed as a rickshaw runner. As time does not permit me to do so, I encourage everyone one of you to try out a ride and experience for yourself what it feels like being carried around the streets of Ottawa as people look at you with envy.

Please check out my program for great events, after school programs, and day camps in the Kanata region at www.kickinkids.ca. Thank you and live strong!

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