Exercise Toybox: For parents working at home with small kids, try these tricks to create movement opportunities for youngsters!
Sidewalk chalk can be used for outdoor workouts to draw agility ladders, four square or hopscotch, or to create a “balance beam” or mark a path through an elaborate obstacle course. Painter’s tape can be used to mark hardwood floors in the same way.
Household items can be used as weights. Be careful here to ensure that it's not too heavy for the child. Canned veggies, plastic milk cartons and laundry detergent containers may be good options.
Paper or plastic cups can be used to create obstacle courses or relay races.
Pillows can serve as unstable surfaces to incorporate balance exercise.Chairs, tables, boxes, blankets and towels can be used to create tunnels and things to climb over and under as part of indoor obstacle courses.
New to running and not sure where to start? Check out Couch to 5k to get started!
Warm up prior to running! It only takes a couple of minutes and it's totally worth it.
Do less! It's about tissue adaptation. That means that you may feel great during your run and decide to go for a bit longer, then the next day or two you experience pain. Tendons, ligaments, and muscles getting used to running is something you may not 'feel' while you are running. The general rule is to increase only 10-20%.
Stretch following your run! I have been guilty of hopping in my car following a run and forgetting to stretch a bit. The result is aching in my hips, low back, and calves. This, like warming up, takes so little time it's totally worth it. And I’ll put a word in here too about foam rolling; a must!
Bridge: This bridge tip movement will help you open up your hip flexors as well as engage your glutes
Fitness Tip: Be sure you have a safe and effective work out at home with these tips:
Find the right space. If you're mainly doing yoga and pilates, you may only need enough space to lay down a yoga/exercise mat. If you're doing cardio, weights, and traveling movements, make sure you have an area at least 5 feet by 5 feet that is clear of furniture, rugs, and any other objects that may trip you up. If you're doing movements in an area with thick carpeting, I recommend putting an exercise mat down and be careful with jumping movements if you have low ceilings.
Prepare for your workout. Remove distractions and have water nearby.
Always warm up before beginning any workout and NEVER exercise beyond the level at which you feel comfortable.
Stop exercising immediately if you experience pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, lightheadedness, or any other discomfort. If any of these symptoms persist after you stop exercising, please seek medical help immediately.
Fitness Tip: Plank!
The humble plank is a great body weight strength move that does not get enough credit, in my opinion! Plank on your hands to get more work for arms and shoulders or plank on your forearms for more of an abdominal focus. Start with a 30-second plank and then work up to a minute or more. From your forearm plank, try tapping your knees lightly to the floor or 'sawing' your body forward and back for more of a core burn!
Food Tip from Jen: "I love lentils! They are versatile and healthy. I like to cook a pot at the start of my week to have on hand for a quick meal."
Breakfast: Sauté spinach, add warm lentils, and top with a fried egg. Lunch: Enjoy on a salad with your favorite vinaigrette. Dinner: Braise kale, swiss chard, or another green you have on hand with chopped onions with a bit of olive oil and salt. After a few minutes, pop the cooked lentils in to warm up. Once warmed, I like to serve with fresh tomato wedges and pepper.
Food Tip from Jen: "Lots of great recipe sites to peruse right now while you're hanging out at home. When trying to consolidate grocery trips, it's not ideal to pop out to the store to get one obscure ingredient for a new recipe. Epicurious is my go-to website for recipes and reviews. You can simply type items that you have on hand into their search engine and a variety of recipes are at your fingertips. This is a great way to use what's in your refrigerator to reduce food waste and learn new recipes at the same time. The reviews can be helpful for things like substitutions, which also can be handy right now. Happy cooking!"
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