Children are easily motivated, but they can exhibit a wide range of exercising habits. What follows is a series of exercises with which I myself have had considerable success in getting the children off the couch. The exercises are aerobic, toning, and stretching routines named after different vegetables or fruits. This tactic of attaching names to exercises serves not only to “juice up” an ordinary workout, but also effectively impresses the importance of eating healthy fruits and vegetables upon the children.
The first priority for the children’s fitness trainer must always be to make exercising fun. Music from http://www.dole5aday.com is a great place to start. The music that is available from this web site is "kid friendly" and boasts the benefits of eating healthy fruits and vegetables. Moreover, downloading the music from this site is free, making it “mom and dad friendly” in the process! For those who do not have ready online access or who simply prefer to investigate other resources, most local libraries have a wide selection of music expressing the importance of eating healthy fruits and vegetables.
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.
You can add additional ideas to the session by playing the video section from the Veggie Tales song," The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything. "Reward measured improvement with their own copy of the video, and have parents of your clients take turns bringing the snack of fruits and vegetables. Exercise can be fun for children with just a little bit of creativity.
Big Idea Productions, Ultimate Silly Songs, Word 1997
Brownell, Kelly D., Food Fight, McGraw Hill, 2004
Dauer. Victor P. and Pangrazi, Robert P. Dynamic Physical Education for Elementary School Children, Macmillan, 1989
Dole 5 A Day Music
Essential Youth Fitness
Fitness for Fun and for Future
Learning 90, Couch Potato Jive, September 1990
Murphy, Ann Pleshette, Are Food Ads Fueling Childhood Obesity. December 2, 2003
New York Daily News, Fighting Child Obesity, November 24, 2003
Time Magazine, Why So Many of Us Are Getting Diabetes, December 8, 2003
Time Magazine Article
Christina Chapan is an ACE certified personal trainer, fitness author,
education conference speaker and elementary school teacher. She also
works in the after school care program at her school. In her spare
time, she works as a youth sponsor at her church. If you are interested
in learning more about Christina, please visit her websites:
Fit 4 Fun
Fit 4 Fun Kids Fitness
'); CarpLoadPlugin('flexformat.php'); CarpCacheShow('http://feeds.feedburner.com/AbcHomePreschool'); ?>