Outdoor Activities- Exercise in Disguise!

By Mary Nicholson

“Cinderella, dressed in yella, went upstairs to kiss a fella, she made a mistake and kissed a snake – how many doctors did it take? One, two, three, …”  Do those words take you back to a playground at recess?  They do for me!  Not only do they take me back to Irving Grade School, they also remind me of a time when playing outside was the best thing there was to do with friends!  I may not have been the best rope jumper, but I distinctly remember how proud I was when I could finally jump Double Dutch – what an accomplishment!

Now that spring is somewhere around the corner (according to the calendar anyway), and it’s staying lighter outside longer, it will soon be time to chase the kids outside and, as it’s known in my family, “blow off the stink” of winter.  The little girl down the street has already been out on her scooter and roller blades, and when she has a friend over, they’re in the driveway, jumping rope.  Do you know how many calories you can burn jumping rope?  I found out by using this website  (http://www.healthstatus.com/calculate/cbc) that I can burn more than 150 calories in just fifteen minutes.  It’s a great resource to see how you can keep on top of the “food/calories in = energy out” equation.

What was your favorite game to play outside?  Having several siblings and lots of kids in the neighborhood, there was always a game of soft ball or football going on somewhere.  At night there was flashlight tag or glow-in-the-dark Frisbee.  My favorite summertime activity, hands down, was swimming.  Where I grew up, there were no indoor pools, so we had to make the most of the public pool from Memorial Day to Labor Day.  It was great, especially when I was old enough to ride my bike to the park on my own.

There are countless ways to “exercise in disguise” by playing outside.  Games like “Duck, Duck, Goose” or “Drop the Hankie” are great ways to get moving and still have fun.  Need some ideas?  Here is a  websites that had lots of information on outdoor games: http://www.gameskidsplay.net/index-old.html

Check it out – then get outside and play!

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