Week 1

Ready, Set, Stretch Challenge

Weekly Game Plan

Improving flexibility is not only critical in the prevention of injury, it’s key to building strength. This week, we want kids to focus on the importance of flexibility and the role it plays in getting stronger and feeling healthier.

Week 1: Great-Effort Extras

  • If you’re going to participate in a sport, game or activity, you should always stretch before
  • Get in the habit of having a pre-activity stretching routine that focuses on a balance of upper and lower body exercises
  • 10 to 15 minutes of stretching before an activity is important
  • The more flexible you are, the stronger your muscles and performance will be

Educators: Access this week’s challenge resources

"I stretch before every sport I played as a kid and every practice and game I have now. It makes me play better and helps prevent injuries."

Andrew Luck #12
Ready, Set, Stretch Challenge
1

Exercises

Get Going!

Active stretching gets your body moving while loosening and strengthening it at the same time. Each exercise below is a great example of the proper way to stay loose.

Do not attempt the exercises if an injury or limitation prevents you from completing them safely. Participate to the best of your ability to complete the challenge. Exercises can be done in the classroom or at home.

Weekly Workout Video

Exercise 1: Knee Hug

Let’s hug it out…your knees that is. The Standing Knee Hug is a great stretch that works the hips, lower back and hamstrings. Watch the video or follow the steps we’ve provided to make sure you’re doing it right.

  • Step 1: Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and your chest up tall.
  • Step 2: Pull your left knee up to your chest with both hands, maintain good posture and balancing on your right foot. Hold.
  • Step 3: Alternate each leg.
  • Step 4: Do at least 5 on each leg but no more than 15.

Exercise 2: Lunge & Twist

It’s strength building with a twist. Literally. The Lunge & Twist works your quadriceps and hamstrings while also engaging your core. Do it and it can help build lower body strength and balance.

  • Step 1: Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Step 2: Take a step forward with one foot and bend both knees. Maintain good posture. Your back heel should lift off the floor.
  • Step 3: Descend until your back knee almost touches the floor.
  • Step 4: Twist your torso 45 degrees in the direction of your forward-facing leg, and then rotate back to the center.
  • Step 5: Stand back up, bring your feet together, and repeat with the other leg.
  • Step 6: Try to do at least 8 on each leg.

Exercise 3: Alternate Toe Touch

Get down with a great stretch.  Alternate Toe Touches are great for developing the abdominal muscles as well as the hamstrings. Additionally, it can improve your coordination.

  • Step 1: Stand with your feet aligned underneath your hips, shoulder-width apart.
  • Step 2: Raise the right leg straight in front of you to meet your left hand.
  • Step 3: Come back to center and repeat with your left leg and right hand.
  • Step 4: Try to do at least 10 touches on each toe.

Exercise 4: Triceps Stretch

Now let's get the upper body loose. The triceps are key muscles to strengthen in your arms. So watch the video and follow these steps we’ve provided to make sure you’re doing it right.

  • Step 1: Extend your right arm in front of you.
  • Step 2: Keeping your arm straight, pull your arm across your chest and hold.
  • Step 3: Hold your elbow with your opposite hand until you feel a stretch.
  • Step 4: Repeat with your left arm.
  • Step 5: Try to rotate arms 3 times and hold each for at least 10 seconds.
Ready, Set, Stretch Challenge
2

Nutrition

Fuel Up!

Have your kids stick to these guidelines and they’ll pass the “Fuel Up” part of this week’s challenge.

Do

  • Drink water before, during and after exercise
  • Fuel up with carbohydrates such as whole grain bread or fruit before a workout

Avoid

  • Exercising on an empty stomach; bodies need fuel
  • Loading up on sports drinks or sugary drinks before a workout

"Stretching before exercise enhances our performance and flexibility. Optimal performance comes with optimal nutrition that includes high quality proteins and electrolyte replenishment after your activity."

Brooke A. Fenneman
MS, RD, Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health

Coconut Pineapple Smoothie

This healthy snack not only provides the beneficial nutrition of fresh fruit like pineapple, it also keeps muscles hydrated. And hydrated muscles are stronger, more flexible ones.

  • 2 cups pineapple chunks
  • 17 oz chilled coconut water
  • 1 cup coconut flakes
  • 1 small can (6 oz) pineapple juice
  • 2 (6 oz each) pineapple Greek yogurt
  1. In blender, combine all ingredients.
  2. Blend until smooth and creamy.

Chickpea Salad

Not only is this meal easy to make, it is packed with essential protein. To build stronger, more flexible muscles, you need meals like this.

  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed
  • 8 oz fresh or frozen corn
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 juice of lime
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Sea salt & pepper to taste
  1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and chill overnight to allow frozen corn to thaw and flavors to meld.

A Healthier Banana Bread

It’s sweet how good this tasty treat can be for your body. Bananas are packed with important potassium and the bread component delivers positive energy packed carbohydrates. 

  • ½ cup olive oil-based margarine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 bananas, ripened
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 ¼ cups whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup oat bran
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  1. Preheat oven to 325⁰F and grease pan with olive oil
  2. Cream together margarine and sugar
  3. Add banana, egg and mix well
  4. Sift flour and baking soda
  5. Stir into banana mixture
  6. Add Greek yogurt
  7. Pour into grease pan and bake at 325⁰F for 1 hour until toothpick comes out clean; cool for 15 minutes
Snack
Meal
Dessert

"Good nutrition directly impacts my ability to compete. I make sure I fuel up with healthy food every day."

Andrew Luck #12
Ready, Set, Stretch Challenge
3

Why it matters

Dig Deep!

Flexibility is not only critical in the prevention of injury, it’s key to building strength for a growing child’s body. See what our expert doctor has to say about stretching.

"Stretching is such an important part of any child’s life. With growing muscles, it’s vital for them to make sure they are ready and loose for activity. Oftentimes, minor injuries occur when they don’t warm themselves up."

Brechin Newby, MD
General Pediatrics

The Benefits of Stretching

  • Increases heart and respiratory rate
  • Boosts the number of nutrients and oxygen delivered to muscles
  • Prepares body for the day or any activity
  • Makes it easier to burn calories
  • Helps extend workout and performance
  • Shields against injuries

Expert Riley Physicians

For exceptional primary care, trust Riley Physicians and our outstanding network of pediatricians and family medicine doctors. The very best care is here for:

  • Issues with balance or strength
  • Ongoing fatigue or common and uncommon illnesses
  • School and sports physicals
  • Colds and Flu
  • Falls and Breaks
  • Annual Check-ups

Completed!

Ready, Set, Stretch Challenge Checkout

Great job! You’ve completed this week’s challenge. We hope you had fun and learned a thing or two. Keep it up – we have seven weeks with new activity and nutrition challenges lined up for you. You won’t want to miss it!

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