Jump Rope

To keep fit and prepared for when the swimming pool is ready to open again, this series will present some exercises that you can do at home with minimal to no equipment requirements.

The first exercise in the series is jumping rope. Jump rope is a great way to keep your cardiovascular fitness while improving coordination and working a number of muscles that you use while swimming. If you have a skipping rope, great, but this can even be done without. Try doing a set of five times through 30 seconds skipping with a 30-second rest. 

As you get stronger and more coordinated at this, you may increase the repetitions, or increase the duration of the skipping segments. You can also challenge yourself with variations from a basic two-foot jump to an alternate foot jump, or a high knees jump.

By Jason Britton

Jason is a Lifeguard/Instructor at MacEwan University Sport and Wellness. He has over 20 years of swim and triathlon coaching experience and is the race director of  SwimRun Edmonton.

Squat Progression

The squat is a fundamental human movement pattern that incorporates the coordinated contractions of lower-body muscle groups (i.e. quadriceps, glutes, adductors, calves) and the core (i.e. abdominals, erector spinae). With proper technique it can help improve one’s strength, power, mobility and overall performance in a variety of physical activities. Working through a full range of motion, over time the squat movement can also help to counteract the effects of chronic musculo-skeletal issues such Kyphosis & Lumbar Lordosis, often a result of weakened glute and core muscles and prolonged poor movement patterns.

Objective

  • The objective when squatting is to move the body in a smooth coordinated hip-hinge knee bend movement, with an emphasis maintain on a neutral spine, upright trunk and an evenly distributed weight displacement

Joints Targeted

  • In the bodyweight only version the hips, knees and ankles and primary. Once you add the extra resistance of a barbell, the shoulder and elbow joints also come into play.

Muscle Groups Targeted

  • Agonists
    • Quadriceps femoris
    • Gluteus maximus
    • Adductor magnus
    • Soleus
  • Stabilizing muscles
    • Erector spinae
    • Rectus abdominus
    • Internal/external obliques
    • Hamstrings
    • Gluteus minimus/minimus
    • Gastrocnemius

Starting Position

Modified Squat (Chair squat)

  • Stand in front of a chair, feet flat and about hip width apart, toes pointed slightly out, head up, back straight, arms bent with hands clasped below just below the chin

Modified Squat (Air & Prisoner squat)

  • Stand with your feet flat and about hip width apart, toes pointed slightly out, head up, back straight and yours arms extended out in front at shoulder height parallel to the floor (for an air squat technique) or arms bent at shoulder height with fingers connecting at the base of your scull (for a prisoner squat technique)

Movement

  • In a controlled manner with your head and chest up, spine in neutral brace the core as you hip hinge by pushing the hips back
  • As you hinge at the hips bend your knees to 90 degrees (or lower if you have the mobility)
  • Pause in the bottom position then press your feet into the floor along the big toe to the outside of the heel to engage the glutes and return to the standing position

Recommended sets and repetitions

  • For Bodyweight squats start with 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Once you progress to adding extra resistance you can switch to performing 3-5 sets of 3-4 reps if your focus is to improve max strength or 3-5 sets of 10 if your focus is to improve strength endurance

Progressions

  • Option 1 – manipulate tempo of lift. To increase difficulty doing bodyweight only squats slow down the tempo of each rep
    • Easy = 2 sec eccentric (relaxation of muscle or downward motion) – 1 sec pause (at the bottom of the movement) – 2 sec concentric (contraction of muscle or upward motion)
    • Harder = 5 sec eccentric – 3 sec pause – 5 sec concentric
  • Option 2 – add resistance. Increase difficulty by holding a weight in front of you at chest height (i.e. goblet squat), holding a weight such as a BB plate on your head (i.e. plate squat)

By Kyle and Terra

Terra is a Bachelor of Physical Education Graduate and is certified with the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology. She is currently the Supervisor of the Fitness Area and the resident triathlon coach. She specializes in detailed and technical training programs for endurance activities such as triathlon, running and cycling.

Kyle is a Bachelor of Kinesiology Graduate and is certified with the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiologists. He specializes in movement analysis, chronic disease management through exercise and strength programming. He’s worked with athletes, individuals with chronic diseases, along with many other individuals trying to achieve their health and fitness goals.

Four Simple Ways to Stop Your Desk Pains

Making these simple additions to your workday, whether it is at home or in the office, can make sitting at a screen for hours far more tolerable and limit the amount of Shoulder Roll demonstrationmuscle soreness and discomfort your work can be creating for you. The best part is these basic concepts do not require you to disrupt your workflow in any meaningful way. 

Shoulder rolls (10 to 20 seconds)

These are a great way to mobilize your shoulders and require little effort or movement. Shoulder rolls also help you bring awareness to the position of your shoulders and neck, allowing you to reset your position.

  1. Your rest position should be with your chest up tall and your shoulder blades tucked down and back as if you are trying to slide them into the back pocket of your pants.
  2. 10 rolls front and back

Seated neck stretch (20 to 30 seconds)

  1. Sitting tall in your chair with your shoulders set in place grab the right side of your chair with your right hand and lean your head towards the left shoulder. 
  2. While your head stays tilted try to turn your head as if you are looking above and behind the right shoulder. You should feel the muscles in the front right-hand portion of your neck become stretched.
  3. Keeping your right hand anchored and your head tilted move your eyes and head as if you were to look down and back behind your left shoulder. You should feel the stretch move to the back right-hand portion of your neck.
    1. Repeat both sides 
  4. Hold each position two times for five seconds each

Belly breathes (20 to 30 seconds)

  1. After your shoulders are moving a bit better and your neck is loosened, make sure your posture is better by pulling your chin in. Take that improved posture, sitting up nice and tall, and focus on breathing into your stomach.
  2. If you need help breathing into your stomach, place both hands on your sides, either pushing in or grabbing your stomach, as you breathe in, think of pushing your hands out of your stomach.
  3. Sitting can lead to individuals being hunched over, which can cause them to breathe into their upper chest and neck. By sitting tall and breathing into your belly it can help relax the upper neck and back muscles, allow for our lower spine to align better, and allow for great oxygenation of the lungs giving you better focus. 
  4. Five belly breathes with a five-count in and a five-count out is a great way to reset. 

Stand up and walk 

You may find this disruptive to your workflow at times, but a great time to implement this is when you are trying to problem-solve. Instead of just sitting staring at the same problem stand up and walk around your house or office. Walking can give you a new perspective on problems and it gives your hips and glutes a break from being locked in a seated position all day.

by Kyle Babiuk

Kyle is a Bachelor of Kinesiology Graduate and is certified with the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiologists. He specializes in movement analysis, chronic disease management through exercise and strength programming. He’s worked with athletes, individuals with chronic diseases, along with many other individuals trying to achieve their health and fitness goals.

Cooking in Quarantine

Cooking in quarantine- chilliLunch/ Dinner

Being at home we have a lot more time to experiment with different lunch and dinner options. Now that we have a lot more time on our hands, we can get in the routine of preparing home-cooked meals.

Slow cookers can be your best friend! Prep your meal in the evening and let it cook overnight and you have something ready-made to take to work the next day. If you have time in the morning you can prepare your dinner and set the timer so that when you get home from a long day at work your meal is cooked and ready to be eaten.

Slow cooker chili is a year-round staple, whether we are busy with work or at home in quarantine. Chili is another open-ended meal you can experiment with. You can load it up with a lot of produce and make a big batch of it making it very economical. It makes for great leftovers and can be frozen and saved for another day.

Classic Slow Cooker Chili Recipe

  • 500 g (~1.1 lb) Ground protein (beef, chicken, turkey or none)
  • 2 small-medium bell/sweet pepper (I like orange and red to add colour, char the skin and peel it for that smoky BBQ flavor)
  • 2 small onions
  • 6-8 mushrooms
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of chili seasoned diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • 1 can of mixed beans
  • 2 cloves of garlic

Chili seasonings

  • chili powder
  • cumin
  • cayenne powder
  • salt
  • pepper

ADD extra vegetables

  • chopped jalapenos
  • cup of frozen corn
  • chopped sweet potato or butternut squash

ADD extra garnish

  • sour cream
  • chives
  • crushed nacho chips
  • cheese
  • cilantro

Preparation

  • In a pan brown the ground protein until no longer pink. Break down the protein with a wooden spoon into a crumble. Then add to your slow cooker.
  • Prep all your produce, chop, and slice to your desired thickness. Add to the slow cooker
  • Open cans of tomatoes/paste and add to the slow cooker.
  • Give the ingredients a good stir and set the slow cooker to your desired cooking time. The longer the better!
  • Serve and garnish with any of the suggestions above.

Enjoy!

Plank Progressions

Planking is a great way to maintain spinal health and it only requires you to manipulate your body to create different challenges. This series takes you through some basic planking progressions starting with kneeling planks, adding in reaches and progressing you to the full plank with arm and leg lifts that should really challenge your core. Planking will help you to increase muscular strength and endurance throughout the core, helping to protect your spine from unnecessary wear and tear, while helping you to maintain better balance and generate more force.

Objective

  • The objective of planking is to bring awareness to the position of your spine and how to create tension through your core to stabilize your back.

Joints Targeted

  • All the joints of the spine, if you move into a single hand position you will also challenge your shoulders.

Muscle Groups Targeted (Basic plank)

Primary

  • Abs
      • Rectus Abdominis
      • External obliques
      • Internal Obliques
      • Transverse Abdominis
  • Erector Spinae

Secondary

  • Latissimus Dorsi
  • Glutes
  • Quadratus lumborum
  • Multifidus

Starting Position

Modified plank

  • On your hands and knees, with your hands underneath your shoulders and your knees behind your hips.
  • Your body should make a straight line from your knee, hip, and shoulder joints.
  • Focus on pulling your belly button into your midsection and hold that position.

Full Plank

  • Starting from the modified plank position extend at your knees, while keeping your core tight, to elevate your knees off of the ground until all of your weight is on your toes and hands.

Movement

  • Just hold the plank position in the basic plank
  • As you add movements to your plank positions you should focus on drawing your belly button in towards your spine prior to initiating any movement with your arms or legs.
  • If you are choosing to move your arms or legs ensure that your limbs never break the mid-line of your spine, this will help you to maintain proper core control.

Recommended sets and repetitions

  • Basic planking can be done for 30 seconds holds, for one to three sets (one to three sets * 30 seconds)
  • If you are adding movements into your planks do each movement one to five times per side making sure they are slow and controlled (one to three sets * one to five reps each side)

Progressions

  • Moving one hand at a time, the further away from your body the more of a challenge you are creating
  • Moving into a longer plank position such as moving from knees to toes or shifting your hands/elbows above your head
  • Moving your entire body while maintaining core stability

by Kyle Babiuk

Kyle is a Bachelor of Kinesiology Graduate and is certified with the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiologists. He specializes in movement analysis, chronic disease management through exercise and strength programming. He’s worked with athletes, individuals with chronic diseases, along with many other individuals trying to achieve their health and fitness goals.

 

Tips To Stay Calm In An Uncertain World

MeditationThe world we live in can be an uncertain place. One day we may be living a life that is very familiar to us and the next day, it may feel like everything has been turned upside down. Whether you have lost a job, a loved one, or know somebody who has experienced some sort of loss or turmoil, you are likely going to feel the emotional side effects. The good news is we have the power within ourselves to feel peace and harmony in the midst of life’s confusions.

First and foremost, remember to be kind to yourself! Whether you or somebody else you know has experienced chaos, know that what you are experiencing is a normal human response. Not everybody’s responses are going to be the same, so please try to remain as non- judgmental as possible towards yourself and others.

If you are feeling overwhelmed or your mind is racing, it could be that you are yearning for what you had in the past or that you are anxious about the uncertainty of what is to come. Notice how the former situation brings your thoughts into the past and the latter into the unknown future. Both are okay if you don’t choose to spend the majority of your time allowing your mind to keep you feeling trapped in either situation.

I’m sure you have heard it before – the past is in the past and you can’t change what has already happened. The future hasn’t happened yet, so there is no sense worrying about it. If the present is where we are supposed to be, let’s take some time to consider ways to bring ourselves into the present moment.

Grounding

Grounding is a technique that involves doing activities that reconnect you to yourself, the earth, and the present moment. You could try counting to 10 allowing yourself this time to refocus. Another technique that might be helpful is to bring a specific object to mind and then try to imagine it with all your senses. For example, if you are thinking of a rose, ask yourself the following questions: How does it look? What colours do you see? How does it smell? What does it feel like? Does it have any sound? Another technique you might find useful is a body scan. Start by noticing which parts of your body are in contact with the floor or surface you are sitting on and then take note of how each part of your body feels. Send breath to any areas that might feel tight.

Breathwork  

Breathwork is one of the easiest ways to stay grounded especially if you are feeling overwhelmed. Breathing is one of the only biological activities that can be brought under full conscious control and still function semi-automatically. By learning how to bring your breath under conscious control, you will also be able to control your emotions. One breathing technique you could try is square breathing.

Start by finding a comfortable position and take a full breath in through your nose, count to four as you inhale slowly, hold your breath for a count of four, and then exhale completely for a count of four, pause for a count of four and repeat for a few rounds. You can choose to keep your eyes open or closed and hands can go wherever they are comfortable. I personally like to place my left hand over my chest and my right hand on my belly and notice the rise and fall on each inhale and exhale. Notice the breath as it comes in through your nose warming your body, notice the exhales as you let go and release stress, and don’t forget to notice the pause where there is no inhale or exhale.  Please remember if this or any other breathing technique is making you feel dizzy or uncomfortable for any reason, you are in control and can stop at any time.

Gratitude

Gratitude has many benefits including improved mental and physical health, lower blood pressure, and a feeling of greater happiness. Did you know you can “rewire” the brain to be happier just be recalling things you are grateful for? Gratitude can boost the neurotransmitter serotonin and activate the brain stem to produce dopamine. To practice gratitude, try writing down three things every day that you are grateful for.

Vagal nerve stimulation

The vagus nerve is the longest nerve of the autonomic nervous system. It runs from the brain through the face and into the abdomen. It helps regulate heart rate, blood pressure, digestion and sweating. Stimulating the vagus nerve can help to calm the nervous system. Some ways you can try to stimulate the vagus nerve include deep and slow breathing, singing, humming, chanting, massage, exercise, pushing the tongue to the roof of your mouth. If you like, you could try Bee’s Breath, which is a combination of breathing and humming. 

Start by sitting in a comfortable position, lengthen the spine and take a deep inhale through the nose, filling the belly with air, drawing the root of the tongue to the back of the throat, keeping the mouth closed. On the exhale, draw the back of the tongue to the back of your throat and make a humming noise like a bee. You could try plugging your ears with your pointer fingers or plug your ears with your thumbs and spread the rest of your fingers vertically down your forehead applying gentle pressure. Notice the vibration at the back of your throat as it helps to calm your nervous system.

Remember whatever approach you take to staying calm in these uncertain times, do what feels right for you and take it at your own pace. My personal approach to dealing with uncertain times, is to create myself a routine, allowing myself certain parts of the day to process my thoughts and feelings and certain parts of my day to stay focused and centered. Perhaps instead of spending our time wishing to get back to “normal”, we can find creative ways to enjoy the present moment. 

by Cindy Hunt

Cindy Hunt is certified with the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiologists as a Certified Personal Trainer.  She has a Bachelor of Arts degree and graduated with Honours from the NAIT Personal Fitness Training Program. She is registered with the Yoga Alliance as a 200 hour Yoga Instructor and has completed an additional 100-hour Trauma Sensitive Yoga certification with Yogafit.  She has been a part of the Sport and Wellness team since 2016 where she trains and teaches a variety of classes including Hatha and Restorative Yoga. Her passion lies in motivating others to get active and pursue a healthy lifestyle.  Her specialty is in working with dancers, older adults, pre/postnatal women, and people struggling with anxiety or who are newer to the gym environment.

Stuck at Home? Might as Well Run!

As the days of social distancing continue, the same few walls begin to feel like they are closing in around us. Running is a great excuse to get out of the house while still downhill run trainingmaintaining our social distance and being active. 

Not only does running get you out of the house, but it also costs no money and helps to improve our cardiovascular health and manage stress, which is especially important during these times. If you’re anything like myself, you may find that you can run for longer distances every now and again, but doing it on a regular basis can get a bit boring, so how can we change things up a bit while still getting outside? 

Changing Your Route

This may seem obvious to some people, but we are creatures of habit and may find that we keep running the same two or three routes repeatedly. During your long runs try different routes around your place or explore some of the city trails. Changing up your trails just may be the thing you need to reinvigorate your run routine. To progress either change up your route or increase your distance.

Landmark Sprints 

These are easy to do, assuming your area has trees, lamp posts, or something consistent alongside your running route. Start with a light warm-up for five or so minutes to make sure your joints and muscles are warm. Run at an easy pace from your first landmark to the second, when you get to your second landmark sprint as fast as you can until you hit the third landmark, slow down to a walk until you hit your fourth landmark and repeat your run/ sprint/walk’s for two to five times either finish it up here or take a nice long five to 10-minute break and try for a second set of 2 x 5 sprints. To progress your landmark sprints, work your way up to 3 x 5 sprints by adding a sprint to each set every week. Start at 2 x 5 then move to 3 x 3 and progress up to 3 x 5. Once you’ve achieved 3 x 5 sets test your new run tolerance by setting a cutoff time and see how many repeated sprints you can do with a set rest period before you are unable to hit your prescribed cutoff time. 

Hill Runs

When doing your hill running you want the hill to feel like a challenge to run up but not feel like you must walk up the hill just to complete the first round. After you have found your hill and have warmed up you have two choices and they both give you different benefits. 

Uphill Running: Start at the bottom of the hill and sprint up the hill as fast as you can, when you get to the top of the hill stop and walk back down. This will help you to strengthen your legs and help you to develop more power, which is especially useful for those into trail running. 

Downhill Running: Start at the top of the hill and run down, please be careful if you haven’t done this before as you can get more momentum then you would expect. Then walk back up the hill and repeat. This is great for those that want to get faster, it allows us to turn our legs over faster than we would normally be able to accomplish and this transfers into faster running times. 

Hill runs are a great way to help you break up the monotony of running while working on weaknesses in your running. Make sure to create a session that focuses only on a certain aspect of hill work. If you try to do both the up and downhill runs in the same session, you minimize the benefits you get from either modality and increase your risk of injury. To progress your hill running, work your way up to three sets of five reps by adding a rep to each set every week. Start at two times five then moving to three times three and progressing up to three times five sets. Focus on either downhill or uphill sprinting at a time to see significant improvements in either speed or power. 

Backward Sprints 

For those of you that have an open field and want another way to change your routine, you can always run backwards. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning in April 2020, looking at 13 to 15-year-old males showed running backwards helps improve sprint performance. This may give you another type of running and another tool to help get faster, especially if you participate in a sport that includes a lot of backwards running. This would be best done in 10 to 30 m backward sprints, sprinkled into your workout routines sporadically to cause different changes in the stretch-shortening cycle (the rate your tissues can rebound from being stretched) potentially increasing your ‘spring-I-ness’. 

Test and Progress 

One of the easiest ways to stay motivated is to see that you are improving, many individuals when they start running, just start and have no idea whether they are getting better or not. Find a route that you know well and time yourself. If you want you to put this into mapping software to see the distance, then run this same route after about four weeks of consistent training. If you have been pushing yourself in your training, you should see a significant improvement in your time, and even better than that, it should feel easier to complete. 

Depending on what you’re looking for, whether it’s just an escape from the house, some regular exercise or improving performance, running can help you reach your goals.

by Kyle Babiuk

Kyle Babiuk is a Bachelor of Kinesiology Graduate and is certified with the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiologists as a Certified Exercise Physiologist Exercise. He specializes in movement analysis, chronic disease management through exercise and strength programming. He’s worked with athletes, individuals with chronic diseases, along with many other individuals trying to achieve their health and fitness goals.

Cooking in Quarantine

Breakfast

You’re either for it or against it, breakfast. I encounter a lot of people that say they don’t have time to make breakfast before work and typically grab something on the go. Often times those choices are calorically dense and lack nutrients. A lack of satiety sets in and you’re feeding again. Some people just run on coffee, others skip breakfast altogether. In light of recent circumstances, this might be your chance to reacquaint yourself with not only breakfast but cooking in general. 

Western societies breakfast relies on convenience, quick, high carb, low protein options found in the cereal aisle. There is one breakfast item that has been up and down in the media and public perception over the years. The breakfast and protein gold standard, eggs. Fry ‘em, boil ‘em, bake ‘em, scramble ‘em, poach ‘em and eat them raw (something my 20-year-old self used to do). They are the most versatile breakfast option I can think of. 

Our first recipe is going to be a Frittata. Frittatas are open-ended; you can really get creative and add whatever you want. They store well for leftovers and can be taken on the go. Samin Norsat, author of Salt, Fat, Acid Heat suggests limiting your frittata to six ingredients: eggs, something sweet, creamy/rich, green, salt, and oil. Classic pizza toppings are a good start. If you want to take it further and purchase seasonal ingredients here are a few of her suggestions.

    • Spring – asparagus, spring onion, mint, artichoke confit, chives
    • Summer – cherry tomato, crumbled feta, basil, roasted pepper, broccoli rabe & crumble cooked sausage
    • Autumn – wilted chard, dollops of ricotta, brussel sprout and cooked bacon
    • Winter – roasted potato, caramelized onion, parmesan, radicchio, fontina cheese, and parsley

Check Out Grocery Budgeting During a Quarantine

Frittata Recipe

Preparation

  • Set oven to 350 °F
  • Use a 10-12 inch cast iron pan
  • 12-14 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of milk/cream, sour cream or crème fraîche.

Directions

  • Mix eggs and dairy options in a bowl.
  • Prepare produce/protein (slice/dice/chop) ingredients.
  • Add 1 tbsp. of oil to your pan. Sautee produce/protein in cast iron pan over medium heat until cooked through/tender/caramelized.
  • Once cooked through, dump in the egg mixture and spread evenly.
  • Put the pan in the oven for ~6 minutes or until cooked. It should look fluffy like an egg pillow.
  • If you are adding cheese, turn on the broiler, remove the pan from the oven and grate cheese over frittata. Place the pan under the broiler for ~1 minute or until the cheese is melted.

I have left this recipe open-ended and provided you the framework for your final dish. It is up to you to decorate it how you would like.

Enjoy!

Resistance Band Split Squat

Resistance band split squats is the second exercise in our ongoing warm-up series. The knee joint should be warmed up with stability in mind. Activating the glute medius through reactive neuromuscular facilitation will prevent the knee from going toward the midline.

Objective

  • Mobilize the joints and improve the preparedness of surrounding joint tissues to reduce the risk of injury

Joints Targeted

  • Hip/Knee

Muscle Groups Targeted

  • Gluteus medius, maximus, quadriceps, hamstrings and core

Starting Position

  • Attach a resistance band to a post
  • Start in a stationary lunge/split squat position. Feet are in-line with the hips. Outside or furthest leg from the post is forward
  • Avoid too long or short of a base, stability is key
  • Step into the looped band with the outside leg. Set the band just below the kneecap

Movement

  • Once the band is in place and you are in a stationary lunge position focus on dropping the back knee down to the floor
  • Try not to rock forward shifting your weight on to your toes
  • In the bottom position, you should be able to wiggle your toes
  • Tight hip flexors may be a limiting factor in how deep you can get into the squat. Try shortening your base and see if that alleviates any uncomfortable stretch

Recommended sets and repetitions

  • 2-3 sets of 6-8 reps per side

Check out Hip Bridge

Keep Moving with Your Kids

How our lives have changed during this period of isolation! Parents are juggling the new reality of working from home, entertaining little ones and helping their kids learn Kids exercising at homeonline. If you feel like your kids are bouncing off the walls and bursting with energy, it’s because kids need to be active in order to feel good and to grow up strong, happy, and healthy. With schools closed young kids are missing out on daily recesses and physical education classes. So, what can parents do to keep kids moving and active at home?

Let’s start by considering the recommended guidelines and the benefits. The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines recommend children aged five to 11 years and youth aged 12 to 17 should accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily. There are many benefits of being active for at least 60 minutes a day.

  • Improve their health
  • Do better in school
  • Improve their fitness
  • Grow stronger
  • Have fun playing with friends
  • Feel happier
  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Improve their self-confidence
  • Learn new skills

Now let’s talk about how especially while kids are not in school or participating in scheduled activity throughout their day. It’s important to know, you don’t need fancy equipment to get moving, it can be as simple as doing jumping jacks and push-ups in your living room, putting on music and dancing or going for a walk outside. The key is to focus on fun! Help your child find activities they enjoy doing. The goal is simply to move more and sit less. The following are a few fun ideas to get kids moving outside and inside of the home.Kids posing with a snowman

  • Bring out soccer balls, sidewalk chalk, buckets and other toys like frisbees
  • Go for a jog, scooter, bike, skateboard, hula hoop or roller skate around the block
  • Play hide and seek, tag, or freeze tag
  • Play hopscotch on the sidewalk
  • Build a snow fort or snowman (we can still do that in April in Edmonton!)
  • Walk around the block
  • Walk, run or play fetch with your dog
  • Challenge your kid to a race down the block
  • Jump rope, come up with a routine
  • Set up an obstacle course in the backyard (ninja warrior-like)
  • Play sports like soccer, hockey, basketball, baseball, football, etc. (throwing and catching are so important for growth and development)
  • Try a scavenger hunt- have your kids search for and identify natural objects in your backyard
  • Here are some fun activities you can do inside.
  • Just dance, turn on your favorite tunes and dance
  • Do a fitness workout together as a family (my kids join me for my workout, we take turns picking exercises, kids come up with the craziest moves!)
  • Blow up balloons and try to keep them up in the air. Maybe hang a blanket as a net and play “volleyball.”
  • Use painter’s tape and create a hopscotch board on your living room floor or rug.
  • Set up a mini-golf course around the house, using cups for the holes and ping pong or other softer (i.e. less destructive) balls.
  • Build an obstacle course indoors for smaller children using sofa cushions and cardboard boxes.
  • Indoor bowling with empty water bottles (or filled with water for more of a challenge)
  • Track steps and set goals with how many steps they can get in a day
  • Unstructured play is important too!

As a family, we try to get the kids outside as much as possible, even if it’s for short bouts of 15 to 30 minutes at a time. I think of them as “recess” or “lunch” breaks that they would normally have at school. We also make it a goal to go for a family walk every day, just to get fresh air and activity. As parents, if we do our best to have a positive attitude around being active, we can be good role models to our kids, and they are a lot more likely to enjoy physical activity. So, take advantage of the time we have now to find creative ways to be physically active as a family and keep your kids moving!