Children’s Fitness Academy: Ditch the computer games and get moving!

According to research by the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique (STAT). 8 out of 10 of parents say their children spend up to four hours a day playing games on hand held devices, games consoles and computers and are concerned about how it affects their health and wellbeing, especially poor posture, headaches, back problems and a lack of concentration, which is why International Alexander Awareness Week (8-14 October) will this year focus on children, encouraging and supporting their parents and teachers to help children and pupils be ‘Poised for Life’.

According to the STAT survey;

  • 85% of children (who are allowed to play games on such devices) spend up to four hours a day doing so. Yes FOUR hours!
  • 78% of parents are concerned about their child’s posture while playing such games. What child sits up straight when playing games? 
  • Parents are concerned that gaming and computer use affects their child’s wellbeing with lack of concentration (32.4%), back ache (30.9%), neck ache (26.2%) and head ache (31%) all highlighted.

Angela East, of STAT, says: “Bad habits can be formed from a very young age which later lead to posture, mobility and other health problems in later life. The Alexander Technique is a great tool – it teaches you how to use yourself correctly so that you benefit from less stress and back pain and improved posture and wellbeing.

“The key is to encourage good posture and sitting among our children and young people and the Alexander Technique helps prevent bad habits, such as hunching and slouching, from creeping in and affecting their health.”

One of my top tips for posture is getting your child to sit on a gym ball when playing games.   Without knowing they will be building strength in their core because of the instability of the ball. Automatically they will have to sit up straighter and use their core section to stablize themselves – otherwise they will fall off!

The balls come in all sorts of colours to make them more appealing to you child and all different sizes (choose a size that they can sit on comfortably with their feet firmly on the ground.) They aren’t expensive either – cheaper than a computer game anyway! 

 

I know, I know!

I haven’t been on here for ages! What have I been doing? Planning my wedding that’s what!

To do this – I have been eating pretty clean (Of course there have been a few treats!!) and training hard! At the moment, I’m loving CrossFit.

Here is the hardest workout I have done so far!

It is a five-minute round from which a one-minute break is allowed before repeating. We’ve used this in 3 and 5 round versions. The stations were;

  1. Wallballs: 20 pound ball, 10 ft target. (Reps)
  2. Sumo Deadlift High-Pull: 75 pounds (Reps)
  3. Box Jump: 20″ box (Reps)
  4. Push Press: 75 pounds (Reps)
  5. Row: calories (Calories)

The clock is not allowed to reset or stop between exercises and on the call of “rotate,” I had to move to the next station immediately for good score. One point is given for each rep, except on the rower where each calorie is one point.

I did the WOD as prescribed for women, so I used a 6kg medicine ball for the Wallballs and 25kg for the Sumo Deadlift High-Pulls and Push Presses.

After the combo of Wallballs + Sumo Deadlift High-Pulls + Box Jumps, my legs are pretty exhausted! I’m shattered!

Children’s Fitness Academy; Ways To Get Fit With Your Kids In 2012

This year, make sure your New Year’s fitness resolution includes your kids. Doing so could make working out and losing weight a lot more fun!

Top get them and you in the swing of things, my advice is to engage them with fun things and even make exercise a little unusual to get them excited about working out.

For example, if you say, we’re going to take the kids out for a walk this evening, most kids are going to say, ‘Wait, we have to leave the playstation?” so you need to make the activity fun while making it something that is sports-oriented or game-oriented!

Children need at least 60 minutes a day of physical activity, including muscle-strengthening exercises. Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. See the lights. Around Christmas and Halloween, there are plenty of interesting light displays to see in your neighbourhood – go to the areas that can’t be seen from the road and surprise them.

2. Aim for two to three activities a week, tol help you reach your daily fitness goal of 30 minutes of moderate activity five times a week.

3. Walk to school. That burst of activity in the morning can change their day and boost their concentration levels!

4. Replace pizza and a movie night with family fitness night at least once a month.Have a match using the Wii, do a dance off using a Zumba DVD or play golf, by putting the ball in a teacup. Get the kids excited about it.

5. Check out the fitness attractions your city offers. How about Kid’s bootcamp classes like mine or a running group or rock-climbing?

6. Make a fitness wish list with the kids. Write down every physical activity they’d like to do, and let them choose a few every month.

7. Play like a kid. A half-hour of IT, British ball dog or Traffic Lights is good exercise for you and your children. Ask them to teach you a new game that they might play at school!

8. Take it outside.  Go to a park or nature preserve and climb muddy hills, climb over stilies or feed the horses carrots in the local field.

9. Make eating out or after-dinner treats a physical activity. Walk to the restaurant or shop from home

10. Join a running club or event like Park Run, or a netball or football group. They all offer opportunities for you and your kids to have fun getting fit. 

Get Your Children Moving With These Children’s Books

Happy to Be Girls – In this book, author, Sarah Davies celebrates that it’s cool for girls to be strong, adventurous, and athletic, whether they want to be girly or tom boyish. The energetic rhymes and delicate illustrations depict young girls unicycling, skateboarding, climbing trees, and inspires them to use their bodies to explore their world. Plus it has a sweet ending: “Loud girls, Proud girls, Stand out in the crowd girls. Being just themselves — Just girls!!”
Hop a Little, Jump a Little – This board book will inspire movement for the little ones in your lives. It shows girls and boys skipping, patting a knee, bending, stretching, and moving as they explore the world around them. I love that it ends with a yawn and a nap, showing tots how exercise can help them sleep.

After-School Olympic Games

The Olympics are just around the corner, so why not get your children into the spirit of things, while getting them fit and healthy?

Give this game a go and get your friends and family involved – it’s so much fun 🙂

Materials

  • Each child brings a prize, wrapped up (used or new), which is then put in a big bag upon arrival.
  • Big container of lemonade or water

Directions

  1. Make a list of all the events you can remember from the Olympic games. Include other events that might be special to your neighborhood like grass rolling, acorn picking, leaf catching, or creek walking.
  2. Make sure the events are safe and appropriate for the ages of children involved. Here are some things you might include: running races, swimming races, softball throw, long jump, Frisbee throw, tennis tournament, basketball toss, etc.
  3. If you don’t have room in your yard, meet at a park that might have a swimming pool, basketball court, or other extras.
  4. The winner of each event picks a prize from the gift bag.

Enjoy!

Childrens Fitness Academy: Cardio for kids

As adults we wonder which cardio exercise is better for us. We want to burn off as much fat as possible!

Scientists discovered that during intensive exercises, your body burns glycogen, which is a form of stored carbohydrates that are stored in your liver and muscles for energy. During low intensity exercises, your body will burn a lot of fat. These exercises can include running or swimming. But have you tried to get your kid to go running or swimming for the sake of exercise? You were probably met with moans and groans, which is why you need to make it FUN!!!

Kids need cardio, just like adults. The question is how to get them to indulge in cardio exercise, whether it is high or low intensity. Here are a few simple suggestions:

• Trick them—but don’t lie to them. Encourage them to join you on a fun outdoor walk and take a camera or a picnic. Host a swimming party at the local pool and have the children compete to see who can swim the most laps in the least amount of time. These exercises are great for kids.

• Make it fun for them. A mini trampoline can be used by anyone. This is great for the rainy days when your kids are full of energy they just have to expend. This piece of equipment is endorsed by NASA and can be enjoyed while watching television!

• Let them be like mum and dad. If you have gym equipment in your home, allow your children to create their own gym. Using adult equipment may injure little bones and joints.

• Get up a sports team. Not all kids are in organized sports. Get up a neighborhood football league or tennis team. Team sports will provide great cardio exercise!

Cardio exercise will juice up your metabolism even after you have completed your workout. What this means, is that your body will continue to burn body fat hours after you have stopped. And the more cardio you do, the more energy you and your kids will have.

Hey kids – how about some Trampolining fun?

Yesterday at Health & Fitness Magazine we did a fantastic photoshoot with an urbanrebounder – also known as a mini trampoline!

It made me think that this would be a fantastic piece of equipment to incorporate into my Fitness Classes on Sunday mornings at Coombe Bank School in Sevenoaks. (new 5-week term starts on 13th November at 10:30)

Not only is it such great fun but according to a study by NASA, hopping on a mini-trampoline, also known as an urban rebounder, is 68% more oxygen efficient than other forms of exercise, which means that you can exercise quite vigorously on a trampoline without feeling out of breath, but still gain the same benefits you would from jogging on pavement.

The unstable surface of the bed also forces the body to engage those deep core muscles in your abs and lower back, while the increase in G-Force and pressure created by the bouncing almost triples your bodyweight when jumping, so your body has no other option, other than to respond to this  and get stronger and fitter.

I tend to rebound every Wednesday morning before work. I stick on some of favourite music and bounce away for 30-40 minutes. It’s such fun that I forget I’m exercising and it sets me up so well for the day. I’m in such a good mood all day and had a good workout to boot! I LOVE IT!

I am currently talking to the manager at rebound-uk.com to see if we can get somerebounders on loan and to see if I can get myself on the next available course.

In the meantime jump around as much as you can – ask your children to be a kangaroo for an hour and bounce everywhere – its great exercise and will instantly put a smile on their faces. Now off you hop!!!