Give Your Child a Break from Game Boys, Televsion Shows and Text Messaging with Chinese Exercises for Young Children

Monkey Play

Tell your child they are going to imitate the actions of a monkey. The exercise begins with the child standing with the feet apart about shoulder width and the arms hanging loosely at the sides. Now, jump forward in a single hop, with the left foot ending on the ground and the right foot in the air and the knee slightly bent. At the same time, your child should reach forward with the left hand, fingers bent, as if plucking at things like a monkey would. Jump backwards to the starting position. Then repeat the exercise with the right foot forward, left foot suspended, and right arm extended, fingers plucking. Repeat this routine 8 to 10 times as if the kid is a very lively monkey. This exercise improves flexibility and balance.

Tiger Walking

Start in the same position as Monkey Play. The child should bend forward with knees bent to put the back close to parallel to the ground. Grab the left and right ankles with the left and right hands. Start walking forward with the right foot first and turn the head to the right. Then do the same thing with the left foot, turning the head to the left. Keep going for eight steps and then stand up again. Do this routine 2 to 4 times. The routine will improve lower spine and hip joint flexibility. Caution: Do not try these exercises for young children if your child has any sort of back problem or injury. Do not try to demonstrate this if you have back issues.

Edge and Tiptoe Walking

To avoid flat feet and give strength to ankle joints, have the child walk without shoes with the inside of each foot off the floor for ten steps. Children with ankle problems should not do this exercise.

Another one of the exercises for young children will build strong calf and feet muscles. Do this one with the child’s shoes off. Walk 100 steps on tiptoe with the heels raised as high off the floor as possible.

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Additional Resource

Zhuo, Dahong, Lade, A.R. and Wong, J. Chinese Exercises & Massage for Health & Longevity. (Vancouver, B.C.: Hartley & Marks Publishers, 1998).