Soccer for Toddlers

I signed my 22-month old son up for soccer sessions with Lil Strikers. The class we joined is for 18 months to 2 years, but they do have classes for kids up to the age of 9.

For his age, my main goal was for him to get some exercise and release some energy so we can go home and enjoy a good, long nap. I don’t expect him to learn any soccer skills but it’s likely he’ll learn a thing or two, even if it’s just learning that the ball goes into the net.

My soccer knowledge is very limited, but from the looks of it, the classes are structured in such a way that their activities do translate to skills that can be applied to a game of soccer.

It’s actually really cute to watch. For the first half of the 10-week session, here’s what they do during the 50 minutes:

  • Stretching
  • Stepping on the ball – The tots are asked to step on the ball, one foot at a time (with the help of the parent for balance). I assume this is for trapping.
  • Jumping over the ball – None of the tots can do this on their own, so they’re all swung over the ball by their parents. Jarvis loves it.
  • Running – “Red Light/Green Light” “and Freeze” games
  • Throwing and kicking the ball – Throwing would be used for throw-ins, I’m guessing; and the kicking is obvious. Jarvis much prefers kicking over throwing. And I may be a bit biased, but I think he’s a pretty coordinated kicker :)
  • Tower building – Yes, the tots build towers with mini pylons. How is this useful? They’re supposed to kick it down when they have it built. It’s a kicking exercise. This one is entertaining to watch because you can watch their creativity.
  • Obstacle course – There’s a tunnel, hoops and a net. Most of the time, the kids just go back and forth in the tunnel, but the idea is to get through all the obstacles and kick the ball into the net. Fun times.

Once all that’s done, they’re all given stickers. I love this because the sticker distracts my little guy almost long enough to get to the car without any struggle.

He’s had 3 classes so far and I can’t wait to see how he progresses. He’s at an age where he’s constantly observing and learning, so it’ll be interesting to see what he picks up next.

My Favourite Free Pregnancy Workouts

I’ve purchased a few exercise programs and joined some group classes, but some of my favourite prenatal workouts are videos you can find free online.

Here’s my list:

  • Tracy Anderson Arm Workout – 5 minutes
    This one isn’t specifically for prenatal, but it’s all upper body strength and no weights are involved, so I deem it pretty safe. It’s only 5 minutes and isn’t professionally filmed but I like it because I LOVE the song and my arms kill afterwards.
  • FitSugar’s Leg and Butt Workout – 10 minutes
    I like this one because Sophia Ruiz isn’t one of those chirpy, annoying fitness video trainers.
  • FitSugar’s Arm Workout – 10 minutes
    I have an exercise ball and some dumbbells, plus this is another Sophia Ruiz video, so it works perfectly for me.
  • FitSugar’s Heidi Klum Prenatal Workout – 11 minutes
    This is a good total body workout. It has a bit of cardio, a bit of strength training and a bit of core work — all in 11 minutes.
  • Lizbeth Garcia Prenatal Pilates for Flexibility – 10 minutes
    This YouTube video is actually about 50 minutes because it includes all five 10-minute parts of the Prenatal Pilates series. Pilates for Flexibility starts at 44:13.

Add a bit of outdoor walking and you’re all set up for a good prenatal exercise program, without paying a dime!

Pregnancy Bootcamp Class

At the beginning of the year, I started bootcamp for preggos. It’s an hour class every week with Belly Bootcamp. I first tried out their Yoga Belly class, and decided to try this one too. This one stuck. I love it. The class is not a breeze, and that’s what I like about it. At the same time, however, Dara, the instructor makes sure you’re still exercising at a safe pace. Dara’s even expecting her third child!

Each week, there’s a good mix of routines – from wall squats, weighted side shuffles and band work to pushups, planks and jumping jacks.

Another perk of the class is that you not only meet other expecting mothers but also new mothers getting back into shape. It’s always nice to hear their experiences and make new friends!

Getting Her (Acro) Dance On

My stepdaughter’s dance class had an open house last night, which meant parents were permitted to watch their regular class.

Michelle is in acro dance and is perfect for it. According to the wiki page, acro is a popular style for performances like the Cirque du Soleil, and that’s pretty cool! This type of dance requires a lot of strength and flexibility, and that’s definitely her. Here’s proof:

dance

It was also nice to see that she was a natural and enjoying doing it! I remember taking dance as a kid and not being a natural, to say the least. I played my part as a ballet-dancing fish and I was done.

Awesome job, Mich! I can’t wait to see your hip hop dance!

Prenatal Yoga

Since the popularity of Lululemon, yoga has become a huge trend. I can appreciate the fundamentals of yoga and I am impressed with those real and dedicated yogis, but I just can’t take the young, brand-name wearing yoga-class goers seriously. With some exceptions, like Hot Yoga, I say just do the stretching and meditating at home.

Perhaps because of those judgements (or because I lean towards more upbeat exercises) I never got into yoga, but I did start prenatal yoga at home with some videos. Yoga for expecting mothers has many benefits:

  • Teaches you how to breathe deeply and relax
  • Increases the strength and flexibility of the muscles needed for childbirth (Those hip-opening stances and stretches are amazing and will come in handy!)
  • Decreases aching such as lower back pain

Yesterday, however, I attended a prenatal yoga class. It was for one main purpose: to work out with other expecting mothers. I was so disappointed to see just one other woman there, and she is close to popping so she wont be attending much longer. The class itself was very similar to the workouts I do at home, so to me, without that extra socializing, attending regular classes wouldn’t be worth it. What did come out of the class for me was motivation. The instructor mentioned she has a 6-month old, yet her body looked strong and amazing! I’ve heard about these stories but this was right in front of me. It really can happen. She kept active during pregnancy so I guess her body bounced right back after delivering.

Now, I’ll be realistic and not expect the same considering I’m not as active as I could be and I like my sweets, but seeing her results motivates me to at least keep up with what I’m doing.

So, with trends aside, I do highly recommend prenatal yoga for pregnant women. Try out a class or a video. I mentioned Lindsay Brin in an earlier post. She has a more intensive “workout-like” yoga routine. Whereas, if you’re looking for a more traditional relaxation prenatal yoga, check out Shiva Rea.