Staying Active During Virtual School

Staying Active During Virtual School

Virtual school has begun.

Never in a million years did you think you’d be setting up an office for your 10-year-old to sign into math class and diligently take notes at her work station.

In her bedroom.

Never did you think you’d be homeschooling your children, while simultaneously checking into Zoom conference calls yourself, slamming down coffee, and churning out your 9-to-5.

Never did you think you’d be scrambling to keep your kids active with at-home recess and physical education.

It’s a massive adjustment.

However, this doesn’t mean you wave the surrender flag and accept the virtual, sedentary lifestyle as the New Normal.

It means we have to adapt even harder. The entire family needs to get in on this because the brain is tied to movement, and the more we move, the better we learn, create, remember concepts, and stay motivated. This goes for being sharper at your remote job, too!

Here are the top 5 movements to do daily during this time:

1. Crawl – Coordination, activates left and right brain hemispheres, works on total body strength and core stability. Perform 100-500 steps throughout the day.



2. Hang – Utilizes the thousands of nerve endings in the hands, which are linked to corners of the brain we rarely use. Also decompresses the spine and opens up the typical, slouched posture that comes with virtual life. Perform 5-7 minutes a day accumulated, divide the sets up however you like.



3. Cross Crawl – Any time you are crossing mid-line of your body, you’re connecting the left and right hemispheres of the brain. I like the Superman version the most because it works on posterior strength and the muscles that support spinal health (glutes, lats, shoulders).



4. Head Turn – Activates the vestibular system, which gives our brain information about how our bodies move in space. I also like this because we rarely rotate the cervical spine because we are so forward focused on screens, so this is another excellent one for full spinal health.



5. Meditate/Belly Breathe – Meditation does not need to be done under a tree, criss-cross style, in the mountains of Tibet. As long as you lie down and focus on inhaling through the nose with your mouth closed, as your belly expands like a balloon, you’re meditating. This is the best way to regulate the nervous system during times of stress and constant contraction of the eyes during screen time.




Other tips:

– Do these movements first thing in the morning before the day starts to wake up the brain.

– Do these movements in between classes to rejuvenate the brain and get circulation flowing to every corner of the body and mind.
A sample template: Class, Crawl, Class, Hang, Class, Cross Crawl, Class, Head Turn. Rinse and repeat.

– When walking up the stairs, skip steps to work on ankle mobility past its normal range of motion (a higher stimulus than walking).

– Have kids do work on the floor so they have to get up and use their lower body strength, as well as work on improving ankle and hip mobility.

– Do calf raise ISOs while brushing teeth.

– Balance on one leg while brushing teeth.

– Go outside during lunch break to eat, then to walk. Walking is one of the best forms of recovery and ways to activate the parasympathetic nervous system after a jam-packed morning of classes.

– Roll and flex ankles while sitting at desk, or they can check into class and stand up and do these as teacher drags on about the Pythagorean Theorem. 😉

– Focus on belly breathing while in class to calm the nervous system for better focus and memory.

– Set up an obstacle course, dodgeball, volleyball, or handball games in the front yard. Play is soothing for the brain for both adults and kids. Check out this book Play by Stuart Brown on the neuroscience behind leisure, and how it builds new connections in the brain.

– Write down a routine that is non-negotiable, in fact, set it in your phone as a reminder. If you value the health of your kid, you will ensure they hold themselves accountable with the daily mundane. Here is an example of my daily non-negotiables:

– Again, I cannot repeat this enough: make this all a family affair. Do the movements together. After all, adults need more movement than kids so their joints stay healthy, bones remain strong, and the chance of falling, getting arthritis, etc etc are lower. But also, adults need to lead the way for the next generation. Learned behaviors are REAL.

I hope this helps everyone get started on navigating online school and incorporating PE in the home.

Remember, you and your kid deserve to be at your healthiest in the mind and body during this time of chaos.

The adaptable survive.




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If you want a routine to do on your own without me…




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