5 Ways to Use Ophea’s Yoga Alphabet Cards in the Workplace

yoga cardsOctober marks Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month, a web-based initiative that aims to “build awareness of the importance of workplace health for the short and long-term success of organizations and for the well-being of their employees.”1 In order to help you and your team move more during the workday, we’re sharing 5 ways you and your colleagues can move  and stretch using a few of your favourite Ophea’s Yoga Alphabet Cards.

When selecting cards to use in the different activities, be sure to keep in mind the ability and safety of all participants. Remind participants that they are free to modify stretches and poses, as needed.

 

1. Stretching Scramble. Select 8-10 of your favourite cards from Ophea’s Yoga Alphabet Cards and place them face down in a common area of your meeting space. Set an alarm (e.g., phone or computer alarm or timer) for 3-5 intervals depending on the length of your meeting. Once the alarm sounds one person selects a card and leads the team in a stretch for 30-45 seconds. Once complete, cards can either be returned face down or be held onto by the stretch leader. Each alarm gives an opportunity for a new stretch leader.

2. PowerPoint Power Up. Display 6-8 of your favourite cards from Ophea’s Yoga Alphabet Cards at the front of your meeting space. When presenting to your colleagues using PowerPoint (or a similar program) place a yoga themed image in the bottom right corner of every 5-6 slides. When this image appears, meeting participants select one of their favourite poses from those displayed at the front of the room. This can be structured where the entire meeting stops to stretch, or simply allow participants to take the lead and stretch for as long as they need.

3. Stretch and Seek.  Place 8-10 of your favourite cards from Ophea’s Yoga Alphabet Cards in common, but hidden, areas of your workplace – think coffee cup cupboard, freezer, and photo copy room door. Encourage colleagues who come across the “hidden” cards to perform the stretch for 30-45 seconds while in the space. Consider changing the card locations daily.

4. My Stretch. Meeting participants select their favourite Ophea’s Yoga Alphabet Cards and keep it at their meeting space face down. At random intervals, determined by the participants, one participant will lead their colleagues through their stretch holding it for 30-45 seconds. Consider displaying optional cards for those who might want to perform an alternate stretch.

5. Drop Everything and Stretch. Place 10-12 of your favourite cards, from Ophea’s Yoga Alphabet Cards in a fun bag or decorated envelope, along with a staff list and pen. Participants perform a specified number of stretches from the bag before crossing off their name and passing the bag along to a colleague who hasn’t received it. Participants are encouraged to drop everything and stretch as soon as they receive the bag. Challenge staff to see how quickly they can make it through the entire staff list and challenge themselves to beat their combined time another day.


1Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month. (2017). About Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month®. Retrieved from: http://healthyworkplacemonth.ca/en/about/about

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5 Ways to Use Ophea’s 50 Fitness Activity Cards in the Workplace

Image result for ophea 50 fitness activity cardsWhile Ophea’s 50 Fitness Activity Cards have been a much loved tool by teachers in the classroom and adults working with children and youth, have you ever considered using them in your office, or work setting, to get the adults in your workplace moving? Here are 5 ways you can integrate Ophea’s 50 Fitness Activity Cards into your workplace (e.g. during staff meetings, mid-morning surprise energizers, lunch, etc.).

1. Meeting Minute Movements: Randomly select 6 cards from Ophea’s 50 Fitness Activity Cards. Display the 6 cards in a place where all participants in the meeting can see them. Together all participants in the meeting perform each activity to the best of their ability for ten seconds, therefore moving for a total time of one minute. Consider having multiple breaks, and even choose optional cards for those who might want to perform an alternate movement.

2. Pick A Side: Find an open space large enough for everyone in your workplace. Divide the space in half and assign 1-2 of Ophea’s 50 Fitness Activity Cards to each side of the room. The leader will call out two choices. The first choice will be represented by the left side of the room and the second choice by the right side. Participants quickly move to the side of the room that they prefer between the two choices and perform the assigned 50 Fitness Activity Card. Consider choices related to your workplace or the following options:

  • Summer or winter?
  • Country or Rock-n-roll music?
  • Siblings or only child?
  • Morning person or night owl?
  • Elvis or The Beatles?
  • Apples or oranges?

3. Jack, Jump, and Squat: Participants find a partner and face each other. Select three of Ophea’s 50 Fitness Activity Cards and assign each a number from 1-3.  This workplace energizer is done in four rounds, with the first round helping to set the structure of the energizer:

  • Round 1: Participants count to three by taking turns. Partner A says ‘1’, Partner B says ‘2’, Partner A says ‘3’, Partner B says ‘1’, and so on. Have them repeat this pattern for several seconds.
  • Round 2: Participants count to three but replace the ‘1’ with the first 50 Fitness Activity Card (e.g., jumping jack).
  • Round 3: Participants count to three but replace the ‘1’ with the first 50 Fitness Activity Card (e.g., jumping jack) and the ‘2’ with the second 50 Fitness Activity Card (e.g., tuck jump).
  • Round 4: Participants count to three but replace the ‘1’ with the first 50 Fitness Activity Card (e.g., jumping jack), the ‘2’ with the second 50 Fitness Activity Card (e.g., tuck jump), and the ‘3’ with the third 50 Fitness Activity Card (e.g., squat).

4. Fire 5/10: As a group select three of Ophea’s 50 Fitness Activity Cards. In pairs participants face each other with 1 or 2 hands hidden behind their back. On the signal “1, 2, show” participants reveal their hands with any number of fingers showing. Participants add up the fingers of both/all hands as quickly as possible, with the goal to shout out the correct answer first. Participants perform the corresponding Ophea 50 Fitness Activity Card based on whether they shouted out the correct response first (e.g., if they answered correctly first they perform “Chicken jacks”, if they shouted the answer second: “Squat kicks”, and if it was a tie they perform “Coffee grinders”.

5. Station Scatter: Display 10 of Ophea’s 50 Fitness Activity Cards around the meeting room. Participants perform 10 repetitions of each card as quickly as possible before moving on to the next card. Participants can complete the cards in any order with the goal of completing as many cards as possible.

Do you have more tips on keeping active at work? Share them with us on Twitter @PARCOntario using #PARCBlog!

This post originally appeard on the PARC Blog September 20, 2017. View the original post here.

Keeping Learning Fun with Participant Choice

My new book, Physical Literacy on the Move, helps teachers develop the physical literacy of their students. In this blog post, which I originally shared with Human Kinetics Europe, details the importance participant choice has on children’s learning.

PLM

Physical literacy learning that integrates participant choice provides children with the opportunity to take ownership over their learning. It also encourages engagement in learning that matters most to them.

There are times when children and youths can make choices around personal interests or pursue learning options based on their specific needs.  The limitations of choice vary based on the specific participant, the game or activity, the facility and equipment available. As well as, other factors specific to each participants learning style. Educators act as facilitators while the children make choices around their activity/game groupings, equipment, game setup and adaptations to optimize the challenge and maximize the participation and fun.

Through the learning process, flexibility is key to creating a learning environment where participants have the opportunity to experiment with personal choices in order to work at their optimal level of challenge. Many small games or drills should be occurring at once to maximize participation. Letting each group make their own choices provides participants of all skill levels the opportunity to have their personal needs met when learning together within the same activity space.

There are three ways educators can offer participant choice within their physical literacy programming.

Modify the equipment

Allow participants the chance to select the type, colour or size of equipment. This provides students with the opportunity to develop the same fundamental movement or sports skills. As well as, making accommodations for their own interests or needs.

Example: When working on developing an overhand throw, does the size or colour of the object (because maybe it’s not even a ball) matter?

Modify the playing area

Allow participants the chance to change up the distance of the playing area, distance from the target or even the size of net. It provides them with the opportunity to increase or decrease the challenge of the activity as well as increase or decrease the physical activity intensity level.

Example: Beginning level participants, who are newly learning a fundamental movement or sports skill, might find value in a small activity area, decreasing the space to travel and a number of movement or sports skills required to travel through space.

Modify the rules

Allow participants the chance to select the scoring scheme. This can involve how many passes need to occur before a point is scored, or the number of steps each participant is allowed to take.

Example: High level participants might choose a point scoring scheme that favours more challenging skills in a game requiring aim and accuracy versus simply participation or getting the object in the area of a target.

Regardless of the physical literacy learning experience, the educator should maintain a focus on participant choice, helping to create a meaningful learning environment where the needs and interests of all participants matter while being active and learning together.

Featuring over 120 games and activities, my book, Physical Literacy on the Move is available to buy from humankinetics.com for $32.95.