Tag Archives: running

Let Them Climb, Spin and Swing!


Believe it or not, movements such as climbing, are essential to cognitive functioning. Movement integrates new information and experiences into children’s brains. Children not only build their brains when they are moving, but they build the muscles they need to sit in a chair and write. Allowing children time to engage in unstructured play is essential to their development. When a child is playing, they are producing endorphins (brain chemicals that make us happy). Thus, unstructured play develops your child’s muscles, sensory systems, and their brains, making it the foundation that complex learning is built on.

Here are a few activities that are full of therapeutic benefits and easy to fit into your child’s day:

  • Swinging.  Swinging is not only relaxing, but it builds core strength and motor coordination.  When your child spins in a swing they are engaging different parts of the brain at the same time. These areas in the brain are associated with learning skills such as spatial awareness, rhythm, timing, balance, and muscle control.
  • Climbing. When children are climbing, they are stretching their arms upwards, which enhances cardiovascular flow and flexibility.  Additionally, climbing builds upper body strength and coordination
  • Running.  Running builds strength in the legs, endurance, and provides sensory input. 

With screen time and school taking time away from unstructured play, children do not have as much time to engage in healthy movement activities. This is detrimental to their development and learning.  It is important to try to spend at least an hour a day letting children engage in movement-based activities.  If possible, give them time to engage in unstructured play, this allows them to seek out the movement their bodies need, which is a form of self-regulation.

kids aerial yoga

At Mindful Child, we allow unstructured play in our aerial hammocks for at least 15 minutes of every aerial yoga class.  Children are able to climb, spin, and swing in our hammocks, providing them the movement their bodies and brains need for healthy development.

Floating Back to Fitness with the AlterG.

What’s an athlete to do when they are told they can’t run, bike, or do yoga?  Seriously, how do doctors expect you to maintain cardiovascular fitness and most importantly keep those good endorphins flowing when you’re grounded from all your favorite sports.  Hmmm…water jog?  Boring.  Elliptical? Ugh, no. Run on air? Heck yeah.

The AlterG is an anti-gravity treadmill developed by NASA-patented technology.  This gravity defying treadmill allows you to run without pain while maintaining your normal gait.  I can run as fast as I like for as long as I like without pain!  The AlterG decreases gravity’s impact by allowing you to select any weight between 20% and 100% of your body weight by 1% increments.  I started at 68% of my body weight and within 3-weeks I’m up to 85% of my body weight.  Another 10% and I’ll be running outside again…

Olympic coach and three time winner of the New York City Marathon, Alberto Salazar, uses the AlterG to train the world’s best runners with no pain.  He believes rehabilitation time is shortened if you are allowed to train while injured with no pain.  What a brilliant man!  The AlterG is not just for runners, children with neurological conditions say it feels like they are flying.  Professional athletes such as Kobe Bryant have used the AlterG to rehabilitate injuries.

The AlterG has allowed me to regain my fitness while recovering from multiple injuries.  If you’re in the Kansas City area look up Dr. Anthony Phillips at Inside Sports Clinic and take a spin on the AlterG.  The staff is great and you’ll feel like you’re running on the moon.  Ready?  Lets race!