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June 27, 2013 at 8:00 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Increase Your Fitness Level with Childhood Activities

By Kim Straub More Blogs by This Author

Child's Play

Ever notice how hard it is to keep a child still? They run everywhere, climb on everything, and even when sitting at the dinner table, they swing their legs and fidget constantly. No wonder children can eat whatever they want without seeming to gain any weight, their bodies are calorie burning machines! Now imagine if you took on the energy of a child with your day consisting of non-stop, intense movement. Unfortunately, while running through halls, climbing over desks, and skipping to the copy machine may get you a nice lean body it will also probably get you fired.

However, when it comes to your workouts, you should still act and play like a kid. Many games that children play offer great alternative workout methods for adults. Hula hoops, jump ropes, and trampolines are all items that should be pulled from your childhood memories and put into action for a stronger, slimmer you!

Hoop It Up

I remember spending hours in the backyard hula hooping with friends. And while it was a memorable childhood game, hula hooping is also a great way to tone your body and trim inches off of your waist. The repetitive hip movements help strengthen your core muscles and tone your body. Fat will quickly melt away, as one hour of hula hooping can burn up to 420 calories. Looking for an extra challenge? Grab a weighted hoop to help increase your heart rate and strengthen muscles. Spinning the weighted hoop around your arms will help tone your shoulders, biceps, and triceps, ensuring that your entire body will be involved in the workout.

Hooping can also act as a source of rehabilitation for those suffering from lower back pain. The rhythmic motion of hooping helps mobilize your spinal joints, improves your posture, and increases body awareness. All of these factors help balance your muscle tone and strengthen your stabilizing muscles in the low-back, helping people overcome and avoid back problems.

Hula hoops and weighted hula hoops can be found online or in most fitness retail stores. Having the right equipment ensures an effective workout, so make sure your hoop is big enough to work with. Find a hoop that measures from the floor to your belly button when sitting upright. Also, be sure you discuss your fitness plans with your doctor before using a weighted hoop, especially if you already have a back injury.

hula hoop

Get the Heart Pumping with Jump Rope

Jumping rope will help strengthen one of the most important muscles in your body: the heart. Every time you push off the ground and fight against gravity, you are making your body work and raising your heart rate. Increased heart rate will improve your lung capacity, making it possible to climb a flight of stairs without passing out. Along with increasing cardio endurance, you can also burn as many as 1,000 calories per hour of jumping rope and raise your metabolic rate long after your workout.

Your heart isn't the only muscle that will benefit from jumping rope. Calves, hamstrings, inner thighs, and glutes will lean out and become stronger with every jump, giving you the athletic ability fit for a Rocky movie montage.

jump rope

Springing to a Slimmer You

It wasn't summer unless you received at least one injury from the backyard trampoline. And although they get a bad rap, trampolines are a great alternative form of fitness. Instead of investing in a giant trampoline that will ultimately end up being an eye sore in your back yard, purchase a mini trampoline. These items are easily found online or at most sporting good stores. Some tramps even come with a workout DVD allowing you to jump in the comfort of your own home.

Trampolines target the same muscle groups as jumping rope, but the shock of landing will be absorbed by the trampoline, allowing better protection for individuals with joint problems. Along with a soft landing, the uneven surface on a trampoline will engage your core muscles and improve your body's balance. Getting used to a tramp's surface may take some time, so be sure to always wear shoes when jumping, especially ones that offer ankle support.

Want to workout in a group setting? Some fitness studios offer mini tramp classes, or you can search for an indoor trampoline park where the room is a giant trampoline and everything is padded, allowing you to avoid your annual summer trip to the emergency room.


A Kid at Heart

Whether you decide to do one or all three of these activities, you will not only begin to feel younger, but look younger as well. Increasing blood flow with cardio exercise helps provide more blood to your dermis, resulting in younger looking skin. High impact activities such as jumping increase bone mass, helping avoid osteoporosis. And, of course, a stronger heart results in better blood flow throughout the body, helping people avoid heart disease and stroke. So go dig out your old childhood toys from the garage, and turn back the hands of time.


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