Five fun exercises parents could do with their preschoolers at home amid the coronavirus...

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Children, especially the preschoolers, are always high on energy and it is impossible to stop them from jumping on the bed, rolling on the carpet and spinning in the kitchen. And with the stay-at-home restrictions imposed due to Covid-19, it has been difficult to contain these little ones, hopping from one end to the other corner of the house. Given that school activities and exercises designed to channelize this energy will remain at bay for some time now, here are five simple fun-filled yet constructive exercises that parents could do with their little ones.

Frankenstein Walk: Also known as the “Walking Toe Touch”, this exercise is just about walking and touching hands with toes. Make children stand in a zombie posture. Now, ask them to raise their right leg as high as they can, and touch the right hand. Ask them to repeat on the other side. Likewise, they walk forward and repeating these motions. It is an aerobic type of exercise. It strengthens abdominal, quadriceps and gluteus muscles. It also increases muscle endurance. If you are going for a jog in the park, take your kid along with you and perform this exercise with them. This way you can time their exercise routine well.

Speed Skater: The motion of this exercise resembles that of skating, hence the name. Ask the children to stand, then instruct them to take a big step in the front from the right side. As they do so, let them sweep their left leg behind. Then, let them repeat the same motion with the other leg. Speed skating is considered a full-body, dynamic workout. It increases leg power but it also strengthens the hip joints.

Star Jumps: Let the children squat on the floor on their haunches, then tell them to jump as high as they can! As soon as their feet leave the ground, ask them to open their legs out to the sides and stretch their arms up and out to the sides - all at the same time. Star jumps are a great form of cardiovascular exercise, they get heart racing and blood pumping. Moms can ask their children to jump start with the star jumps exercises when they begin with their aerobics schedule.

Inchworm: Make the children stand then ask them to touch the floor with their both hands. Their hands should be as close to their legs. Now, let them walk both their hands (away from their feet) - remember, their legs should stay where they are. As their hands take steps forward, the body comes to a push-up or plank-like position. The back should not sag or go up like a mountain. It should be straight. Now let them move their legs (without moving their hands) to reach their hands. This way, they finally return to the initial standing position. Let them continue the worm-like crawl as many times as they want. The inchworm exercise strengthens the muscles of the anterior chain (the front half of the body) and stretches the muscles of the posterior chain (the back half of the body).

Bear Crawl: The bear crawl is very similar to the normal baby crawl. But the difference is that the crawl happens without using hands and toes. Let the children stand on two legs and two hands. Now, let them move one hand and the opposite foot forward. Let them switch sides, moving the opposite hand and foot. This crawling movement alternating sides works a variety of muscles all over the body, importantly the upper arms, chest and shoulders. Observations reveal that children follow the footsteps of their parents. Thus, children can be asked to perform their morning regime while the mother or grandmother performs her yoga.

The author is Head of Sports at Shiv Nadar School and Captain of the Indian Women’s Basketball team.

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