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The Importance of Warming Up Before Physical Activity

Suggested Grades

K-4

Objective

Students will learn to appreciate the benefits of warming up before doing physical activity as well as learn some specific stretching exercises.

Materials

  • cooked and uncooked spaghetti noodles (a few strings each)
  • magazines that have pictures of people exercising, stretching...
  • large pieces of paper
  • glue
  • scissors

Method

  • Explain to students that what helps their bodies to move is an interconnected network of bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Each of these parts need to get used to moving before making them move a lot. It's just like needing to let the car run a bit before driving it in the winter time. It needs to warm up.
  • Direct the class through some stretching exercises (see the website below if you need some ideas). As you are doing the stretch, explain to students the different parts of the body that are being "warmed up".
  • After doing a few stretches, show students a string of cooked spaghetti. Ask them how it feels and looks. Emphasize that the spaghetti is loose and flexible, just like their bodies are now, and that it is easy to move around.
  • Then show students an uncooked string of spaghetti. Ask them how it feels and looks. Emphasize that the spaghetti is stiff, almost like their bodies were before they stretched.
  • Slowly bend the spaghetti until it snaps in half. Explain to students that if they do not warm-up before they do a lot of activity with their bodies that they can hurt or strain their bodies.
  • Ask students to flip through the magazines provided and make a collage of all the exercising pictures that they can find.
  • Under some of the pictures, have students write out what part of the body is being stretched or being forced to work the most. Or, circle these body parts with a marker.
  • Display the collages, have a class discussion on the different body parts and exercises that were found.

Additional Resources

Internet Resources
Stretching and Flexibility
"Everything you never wanted to know about stretching and flexibility, including explanations, physiology, and exercises."

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