Have a little heart-healthy fun during February -- American Heart Month. Here are some modified track-and-field activities that will give kids of all ages a fun workout. For these family-friendly activities, find a local school or park with a track. The softer, smoother surface is a treat for feet accustomed to hard pavement.
- Start with warm-up stretching, then a basic foot race. If young are racing against old, give shorter legs a head start by letting kids start several yards ahead of a grown-up. But don't be fooled -- some kids can jet past their parents with no problem!
- Challenge each other to trot around the entire track backwards. Try a skipping race or a hopping race.
- Bring along some cardboard tubes to serve as batons. Have a relay among family members by placing runners at points all around the track. One person starts running with the baton. When the second runner, who is waiting, sees the first approaching, she starts to run and extends her hand backward to accept the baton as the first runner passes. This doesn't have to be a race; just try to get the baton all the way around the track!
- Is there a stadium next to the track? Try jogging up and down the stairs for an energetic workout.
- In track lingo, hurdling is jumping over obstacles. You don't need hurdles around the track to practice jumping. Just hurdle over the lines that are spread around the track!
- Use a Frisbee as a discus. For a "shot put" event, pack a tennis ball.