Animal walks are an engaging activity for kids of all ages! CLICK HERE to see a video with a 6, 4, and 2 year old engaged in the same activity. While their agility levels are different, they all gained strength, range of motion, muscle power, agility and cardiovascular endurance from the activity.
Getting children excited about exercise and agility is as easy as appealing to their imagination.
One activity that I love to do with all of my patients and my own kids is animal walks. Animal walks involve having your children move like different animals. Animal walks are great for improving arm/leg and core strength, introducing body weight exercise, promoting range of motion, introducing agility (the ability to change the body’s position efficiently), improving muscular power, improving overall coordination and promoting body awareness through imaginative play.
The beauty of animal walks is that you and your children can be creative! Start with standard animal walks shown in this video, and then make up your own. One activity that has been motivating with my patients this week is to show the kids the video and pause after each animal walk and have the child do the movement around a large square space in the house and then come back to the i-phone and watch the next animal movement and so on until we have completed all the animal walks. I invite you to do the same with your kids! It is a great 15 minute activity that will wear them out!
The animal walks included in this video improve the following areas of strength, range and agility/balance (the list is not exhaustive for each activity):
- Bear Walk – strengthens core, triceps, shoulder girdle, hip flexors and extensors, plantarflexors, dorsiflexors, quadriceps; stretches hamstrings, plantarflexors, and latissimus dorsi; works on agility
- Gorilla walk – strengthens core, lateral trunk strengthening, shoulder girdle, triceps, hips, quadriceps, plantarflexors, lateral hips; works on agility, muscle power
- Giraffe walk – strengthens core, shoulder girdle, plantarflexors, hips; works on balance
- Kangaroo hop – strengthens core, quadriceps, hips, plantarflexors; works on agility, balance and quickness of movement
- Snake Crawl – works on core strength specifically lateral trunk strength, hip extension and flexion, latissimus dorsi strength, shoulder girdle strength; stretches hip flexors and trunk into extension, works on agility
- Crab walk – strengthens core, shoulder girdle, triceps, hip extensors, quadriceps, dorsiflexors; stretches front of hips and chest; works on agility
- Dinosaur Walk – strengthens core, hip flexors on the kick side, hip extensors and lateral hip muscles on the side stabilizing, stretches hip flexor on standing side and hamstring on kicking side; works on agility and balance
- Frog jumps – strengthens core, hip extensors, quadriceps, plantarflexors, stretches hips, plantarflexors, works on agility and muscle power
Enjoy this activity with your kids! The muscles lengthened and strengthened are not as important as having fun with your kids! Feel free to join in with them . . . you will get a great workout too!