This is our second blog looking at the steps you can take to look after yourself to ensure you can enjoy those times being around your grandchildren without fear of injury. If you’ve missed it check out last week’s blog for tips on dealing with babies and toddlers. This week we will look at the problems and solutions when dealing with your delightful 2 – 10-year-old grandchildren, and of course as they move into their teenage years.
Grandchildren aged between 2- 10 years can be energetic and the pressure is always on for you to keep up! You may want to be involved in playing out in the garden with them – kicking or passing a ball around. You are likely to find yourself moving much more and more quickly than you have in a while. So, prepare yourself with some strengthening and balance exercises. We will also add in exercises that help you respond more quickly and sharpen the reflexes.
Here are a few things you can do to prepare the way:
Single leg balance
- Start in a standing position. Place all your weight on one foot and stand on this leg.
- Try to keep your balance keeping your raised leg from touching the floor. Stay close to a solid object to hold on to if needed.
- Try this with eyes open, then eyes closed
- Stand up straight and imagine a straight line on the floor in front of you or place a straight line of tape along the floor.
- Walk along this line as if you are walking a tightrope: step one foot just in front of the toes of the other foot while trying to maintain your balance.
- Try this close to a wall to start with. Look straight ahead as you tandem walk.
- Start in a standing position with your feet at hips-width apart. Keeping your knees straight, rise on to your toes.
- Return to the starting position, controlling the movement as you lower your heels to the ground.
- Repeat x5 slowly then change the pace and repeat x5 quickly
- Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart and your arms out in front of you and held horizontal to the floor.
- Bend your knees and hips pushing your hips back behind you and leaning your body forwards, as though you are about to sit on a chair. Make sure you are bending from the hips not the back.
- Do not allow your knees to travel in front of your toes. Keep the middle of your knees in line with your feet. Keep your weight on your heels, not your toes.
- At the bottom of the squat, tense your buttocks, lift and straighten back up to the start position.
- Repeat this x5 slowly, then x5 at a faster pace.
By the time your grandchildren are teenagers they will be on their computers much of the time or asking you to drive them around – this is of course before they are driving unless they have asked you to be part of their driving mentor team!
Your time spent around teenage grandchildren tends to be less active for you, with possibly more sitting time. We know that sitting for long periods of time can affect the lower back and lead to pain. Sitting for more than 60 % of your waking hours (this includes driving, eating meals, watching TV as well as the computer) contributes to health problems such as chronic diseases like diabetes.
Exercise recommendations to maintain good health outcomes for adults between 18 -65 years is at least 150 (preferably 300) minutes per week of moderate to vigorous exercise per week. This may be a brisk walk for 30 minutes, 5 times a week. In addition, adults over 65 years are encouraged to do balance and strengthening exercises at least 3 times a week.
For children between 5-17 years it is recommended they engage in at least 60 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous activity. So, encourage the grandchildren to get out – go on a brisk walk with them to help them and yourselves be as active as possible.