– Monojit Ghosh
One of the major negatives of schools closures and lockdown restrictions is that children have lost the benefit of physical activity built into everyday activities. The daily rituals of walking to the school bus pick-up point, racing up and down the school building stairs, physical education/ sports classes, free play during lunch break contribute to children’s physical fitness. But with schools closed for over five months now, children have been denied opportunities to engage in physical routine activity. therefore it’s important that parents integrate home exercises into the daily routine of children. I have specially designed a workout routine for parents to be presented as a challenge to children. this workout will improve legs, shoulder and back muscle strength. Before starting, warm-up with spot jogging for five minutes and 40 jumping jacks.
Squats. Who can get the deepest squat or the most squats in 60 seconds. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and do deep knee bends. Make sure you keep your knees behind your toes and your arms stretched forward. you could face each other and hold hands for a memorable photograph!
Star jumps. Who can jump the highest? Get a family member to take photos while you are both in the air. Stand straight and then jump explosively into the air, spreading your legs and arms so that your body looks like a large x in the air. try to throw your legs and hands as far apart as you can.
Lunges. Compete to touch the knees, and do 20 repeats without stopping. Step forward and bend your forward knee to 90 degrees. the goal is to have your back knee touch the ground. then jump and switch your legs.
Bear walk. See who can reach the other end of the room first. Place your palms and feet flat on the floor. Arch your back so that you look like a bear. race with children across the room.
Mountain climbing. Who can do the highest number? get into a push-up position and then alternately bend your knee and bring it to your elbow. you can try variations like bringing your knee outside your palm.
Plank. Who can do the plank the best? Put your elbows on the floor and balance on your toes. you could try this with a small child sitting on your back. your shoulder should be directly above your elbow and your body should be straight.
Crunches. See who can do the most stomach crunches without getting tired. lie on your back and straighten your legs. Ask your child to do the same facing you, so that both your toes touch. hold a ball or some other object. As you both get up together, pass the object to your child. then both can go backwards again and pass the object again.
Superman hold. Who can do this exercise the best? lie on your stomach and raise your hands and legs without bending knees or elbows. lift your head a little and look at your child. keep your body tight and hold the position as long as you can.
Leg raises. See who can do the most number of leg raises in 30 seconds. lie on your side and lift one leg as high as you can, keeping your knees straight and toes pointed. repeat leg raises on both sides.
Split. See who is the most flexible. Spread your legs as much as you can and ease into sitting position. Stretch your hands upward and try to bend forward and touch the floor without bending your knees. See who can touch their head or chin to the floor. With daily stretching, you will become more flexible. do some stretching after you finish.
(Monojit Ghosh is a former national level gymnast and fitness trainer/coach at Art Corner Gymnastics, Bangalore)