How a Playset Can Make Your Child Fit, Part II

June 27th, 2012 by

How a Playset Can Help Your Child Get Fit, Part II Children are bottomless sources of energy, and as we watch them run, jump, and play we rarely think about how much actual exercise they’re getting on a daily basis.

Recent studies have shown that the majority of children in America don’t get enough exercise, but by teaching them about the values of exercise and diet now, we can help them lead happier, healthier lives.

As we’ve discussed in our previous post, How a Playset Can Make Your Child Fit, a playset is an excellent tool to use when you want to teach children about the benefits of exercise. Part I is based on the President’s Challenge Program website, and describes how a playset can test a child’s fitness in several key areas and consists of five exercises, listed below.

  • Curl-ups (or partial curl-ups)
  • Shuttle run
  • Endurance run/walk
  • Pull-ups (or right angle push-ups or flexed-arm hang)
  • V-sit reach (or sit and reach)

To build on that last post, here are a few more areas where you can encourage your children to exercise using your Play N’ Learn playset:

  • Dips – recommended for older children, this exercise builds up the arm and chest muscles while building endurance.
  • Rope climb – many playsets have nets or ropes that are perfect for children. Encourage them to climb up and down the net or rope several times. A great way to boost energy and coordination.
  • Swings – brisk pumping of the legs exercises a major muscle area, and also helps build cardiovascular strength.
  • Running – use the playset as the center of racecourse! Children can circle the playset and build their stamina and burn calories while having fun.

Remember that children prefer to play their own games, so getting them to partake in these exercises takes some imagination. Invite your children’s friends over to participate and hand out awards for the winners in each category.

Staying physically fit benefits children today, and tomorrow. Check out our website for more ideas and equipment that will have your young ones exercising and having fun.

How a Playset Can Help Your Child Get Physically Fit

April 20th, 2012 by

Help your kids get fit!Exercise is a hugely important part of growing up healthy and happy. Unfortunately, with the rise of video games and computers, sometimes it’s hard to convince kids that the most enjoyable and productive thing for them to do would be to go outside and play. That’s why it pays to have a playset as an incentive. And a playset also happens to be very well suited to getting kids in shape—just look at the President’s Challenge Physical Fitness Test and see how a playset can improve performance in the following five activities:

Curl-ups: Curl-ups (also known as sit-ups) test a child’s core strength, one of the most important indications of fitness. Core strength is built partly through climbing and full-body activity, something that is a huge part of enjoying a playset—just maneuvering around the set will help your child improve in this category.

Shuttle run: Running on its own is one of the toughest components of exercise to get children to enjoy. Most of the time, you need to disguise it in some sort of more enjoyable activity. Because a playset accommodates all different types of outdoor games, it will certainly help improve the cardio fitness and explosiveness of your child.

Endurance run: The same benefits apply for the endurance run. Where the quick-twitch strength necessary in shuttle running might be better built through games like tag and just climbing around the playset, the hours of fun that a playset provides will be what prepares children for the endurance run. At a young age, the endurance run has more to do with a child’s general fitness than it has to do with any experience running long distances.

Pull-ups: Pull-ups are probably the most difficult of the five challenges in the President’s Challenge Physical Fitness Test—you will often find that many children can’t do any pull-ups. However, they’re also the activity that can be most helped by a playset. Playsets provide a number of opportunities for children to hang and climb, building back and arm strength that will help them do pull-ups on the test.

V-sit and Reach: The v-sit and reach tests flexibility, which is a slightly different skill than is used in these other tasks. Much of flexibility has to do with general physical fitness and health, and playsets will always be a contributor to that.

You could basically conduct the President’s Challenge Physical Fitness Test on a playset; they’re so similar in terms of activities and strengths stressed. But that would be less fun than the games and play your children will enjoy on the playset, and they’ll still be more than prepared for the Test, so it’s a win-win either way.