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					Fun games get kids and parents moving
Saturday July 17, 2004 SAM AND STACY LANCASTER FOR GRAND RIVER LIFE

There is a growing concern that while children receive sound academic programs in school, they don't receive an adequate level of regular, vigorous, physical activity.

And what about when they are home? Almost half of children aged eight to 16 years watch three to five hours of television a day. Kids who watch the most television have the highest incidence of obesity. While there's no doubt genetics plays a role, genes alone can't account for the huge increase in obesity rates. The main culprits are the same as for adults: eating too much and moving too little. Help your children maintain a healthy body weight by encouraging them to be active. Take them to a park, wash the car, walk the dog or go for a bike ride. Not only will this encourage an active lifestyle, but you will spend quality time as a family and build lasting memories. If that's not reason enough, consider these benefits: Exercise may be more important to bone growth than milk.
2 FRISBEE

1 JUMP ROPE

Regular physical activity helps prevent type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, stroke and heart attack. Exercise plays a role in reducing anxiety, depression and tension, and results in increased self-esteem and perceived physical competence. Regular physical activity enhances academic performance. Children who are physically active will more likely remain active into adulthood. They also report lower levels of smoking and alcohol consumption.

3 CRAB RACE

Here are some playful activities we did with Brooklyn and Jackson Schwartz when they visited. 1 JUMP ROPE Be creative and play different games. If you have several ropes, play individual games and contests. If there are three or more people, have two people grab an end of the rope while the others are in the middle jumping. Sing a song, or say a rhyme to keep the rhythm going. Below is an example: Down by the river, down by the sea, Johnny broke a bottle and blamed it on me.

I told ma, ma told pa, Johnny got a spanking so ha ha ha. How many spankings did Johnny get? 1, 2, 3 . . . Keep counting till the jumper misses. 2 FRISBEE Depending on the age of the child, you may want to play a points game such as Frisbee 500. This is a fun way to get some cardiovascular exercise. Instructions: One person throws the Frisbee toward the others. Catch the Frisbee and get 100 points. Touching the Frisbee, but not catching it is negative 50 points per touch, while the person who catches it gets an extra 50 points per touch. Touching the Frisbee without catching it, but then catching it is worth an additional 50 per touch. First one to 500 wins and gets to be the next thrower. 3 CRAB RACE Get on the ground and get silly with your kids by doing the crab race. Your triceps will feel like they're on fire! 4 HOPSCOTCH This old favourite is an excellent exercise that improves agility, balance and co-ordination. Calf and quadriceps muscles will get a great workout. (To learn how to set up and play hopscotch, go to www.gameskidsplay.net.) For more great ideas, check out: www.parentsoup.com and click on games (within Activities and Fun category), then click outdoor games. In this weekly series, certified fitness trainers Sam and Stacy Lancaster, owners of A perfect Fit in Waterloo, describe exercises to do at home. Check the web at www.aperfect.ca.

© The Record 2005 160 King Street East, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, N2G 4E5 519-894-2231

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