Starfish Therapies

November 7, 2012

Making Exercises Meaningful for Pre-Teens

Filed under: Developmental Milestones — Starfish Therapies @ 12:00 pm
Tags: , , , ,

We decided the ladder was the best for our needs based on the packing that was occurring and he tolerated me taking a picture as well as the video so I couldn’t complain when it was slightly blurry!

So I spent part of the week in San Diego helping my friend and her family pack to move across the country.  While there I spent some time with my ‘nephew’ because she has mentioned that he can struggle with running sometimes.  We’ve talked about the fact that he’s a toe walker and that his calves and hamstrings are extremely tight but its hard to give out advice over the phone, and even harder for ‘mom’ to motivate him.

I already had some ideas but I watched him for a few days to see what I thought and then on my last day, I asked him if he wanted some help with his stretches and some exercises to help him possibly run faster on the football field.  He agreed so we had an impromptu work out.  I gave him 3 simple stretches for his hamstrings and calves that he can easily do while watching tv and I didn’t make them very time consuming or requiring a lot of contortions.  I had him try them out and decide if it was something he could ‘easily’ do.  He agreed.

Next we went into the backyard (mainly so we could have some space since their house was in the midst of being packed up) and we practiced jumping and bounding.  I showed him the exercise and then he tried it.  Of course he did it really fast (the way he would normally) and then I asked him if he would try going slow and concentrating on each jump/hop/bound and pausing between each one so he could really make his toes into ‘jet rockets’.  When he did, he felt and saw the difference between how high he could jump/hop and how far he could bound.  I asked him if he knew why and he said its because he was thinking about it so he was able to make his muscles work the way he wanted.  I asked him what happened if he kept practicing it while thinking about it – and he (without prompting) said eventually he would be able to do it without thinking about it!  I loved that he got the concept!

Now, I know that he’s a 10 1/2 year old boy that would rather be watching tv or playing DS but he was genuinely interested in running faster during football practice and during the game.  When I asked if he wanted me to make him a chart, pictures or a movie, he picked a movie so we filmed him doing his exercises with the explanations and then I worked my magic with iMovie and made his own personalized exercise movie.

Do I think he will do it every day? Probably not but he had some choices with the exercises as well as with the delivery of the exercises.  He also got to ask questions about why we were doing them and how practice would make it easier.  He even got to see that when we went back to make the movie, the bounding and jumping were harder because his muscles were tired.  He could relate it to learning how to play football and the time he puts in on the practice field, so that by doing these it will get easier and he will start to see results.

Now, I’ll have to check back in a month or two to see how diligent he has been but my fingers are crossed!

What ideas have you used?


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