Wednesday, September 10, 2008

family fitness night

last saturday, pooka attended a birthday party at a gymnastics facility. it was pretty cool, she got to walk the balance beam, swing on the rings, tumble, jump on a trampoline, etc. she said there wasn't one activity she didn't enjoy.

naturally at the end of this event, the facility handed out schedules and registration forms along with a $10 coupon. since pooka had such a good time, i thought we might look into signing her up. she is still doing ballet, but i just don't see that giving her enough of an exercise load to keep her fit and work off the steroids. since gym class is only two days a week, i feel she needs more activity. of course, we don't have a lot of free time to get involved in too much (especially not gymnastic competition) so we need to keep that in mind, also.

kisu would love to take martial arts as a family, but pooka is just so resistant. and of course, bug is not old enough. awhile back pooka had agreed to let me home-school her in 'karate' (it's faster to say than tae kwon do, and she doesn't understand the distinction yet, anyway) but i just haven't gotten around to it.

so combining all of these thoughts i came up with the idea for family fitness night. why pay someone to work my kid out when i can do it just as easily at home? we can do basic exercising and i can also teach her the fundamentals of tae kwon do. a collateral benefit to this would be, hello!, the family part. granted we would have to do this after bug is in bed, but 3 out of 4 isn't bad.

tonight was our first attempt, although kisu was called away to fix a computer. pooka was very excited about it, even though she had no idea what i was going to put her through.

we started with some jumping jacks, and jogging in place. we moved on to stretching, with which she was familiar thanks to dance class. i then began to teach her a basic middle punch. this was the most time consuming segment, because i had to get her into the correct stance and show her how to make a proper fist. after demonstrating (i can still make sleeves snap--even short ones!) i let her target my hand and give it a go. i was impressed with how quickly she started to get it right. she really enjoyed putting some power behind it and hearing that satisfying distinctive sound of fist meeting flesh. (yeah, we're not aggressive in this family.)

after the punching, we moved on to some calisthenics. i was surprised (and quite disappointed) to find out that pooka can not do a single sit-up. is this common in kids? am i explaining it wrong? (telling her to clench her stomach muscles like she was pooping didn't seem to help.)

nor could she properly do a push-up (not even on her knees). we've gone over this before, but she has trouble keeping her body straight from shoulders to knees. so we worked on that first, which also showed her how to clench her stomach muscles. we then did squats, which she could do and do well. and we finished up with calf raises. she did those well and easily, so i am a little bit suspicious that something wasn't quite right. she didn't have any muscle fatigue climbing the stairs afterward. maybe she just needs to do more of those, she does have some pretty impressive calves.

overall, she had a great time and is already looking forward to the next night. i thought once a week would be sufficient, but maybe we can do it more often. the only detraction is the time. she ended up going to bed an hour past bedtime, but as she gets more familiar with the activities it should go faster since i'll be spending less time on explanations.

i'm very glad she is excited about getting fit.