Tricep Dips


Have students move so they have room to use the edge of their chair. Have each student grip the edge of chair with legs extended out in front of the chair. The student will then lower their body down toward the ground, (keep back close to the chair edge) while bending at the elbows, lower down until elbows are approximately 90 degrees, then straighten elbows while bringing the body back up to starting position. A good example to explain this activity to students would be to pretend they are scratching their backs (from bottom to top on the way down and top to bottom on the way up) against the edge of the chair, their back however should not actually touch the chair edge, but be very close.

Modification Option

Wheelchair push-ups or use a chair with arms rests and pressing arms straight. Bend knees and use legs to help support.

Daily Rule


Establish a new daily rule every day that includes physical activity. Lunge to the water fountain, tip toe to the pencil sharpener, stretch before sitting down, or hop 5 times when getting out of your seat. Eventually the students can start making the rule.

Modification Option

If you have youth who use a wheelchair, provide them with options of a “daily rule” to bring them into the game!

Health Powered Kids a part of Healthy Kids Day at the YMCA – Willmar, MN

Choosing healthful snacks is a habit that can benefit kids every day as they grow. But to a lot of kids and teens, a snack is a bag of chips, some cookies or other high calorie, low nutrient food. Kids are eating more snacks than ever and their calorie intake from those snacks has nearly doubled over the last 30 years. Unfortunately, the extra snacking has contributed to individuals becoming overweight in our society.

Which is why, as part of Healthy Kids Day at the YMCA in Willmar, MN approximately 100 kids and their families took the time to learn about Allina Health’s Health Powered Kids program and
the importance of healthful snacks. “We came up with a healthy trail mix that families could make together that would provide them with energy throughout the day,” says Amber Chevalier, ReYou Program Wellness Care Guide at Rice Memorial Hospital.  “We also had kids sign the pledge to ‘Eat Right and Move More‘ and asked their parents to hold them accountable.”

The YMCA plans to incorporate Health Powered Kids lessons and Power Chargers into their summer day camp as well.

While snacking isn’t bad for kids, it’s important to be mindful about the kinds of snacks they have. Snacking can help kids stay focused at school and while doing homework, and give them a nutrition boost for the day. Healthful snacks are ones that fit into the five food groups. For example, string cheese (dairy) and carrot sticks (vegetable). Potato chips may start out as a healthful vegetable but after processing, it becomes high in calories, fat and sodium.

Health Powered Kids tools you can use:

  • Visit to access online lessons and resources.
  • Share an activity from with a personal note to your child’s teacher, school nurse, Scout leader, sports coach, camp counselor or daycare provider.

Our 2014 user survey indicated that 88 percent of respondents found Health Powered Kids “essential,” “very helpful” or “helpful” in improving health at their home, school or organization.  Healthier starts at

Stay active to keep your heart healthy

The heart is a muscle that pumps oxygen-rich blood to the body and brings oxygen-poor blood back to the heart and lungs. It’s a tough muscle about the size of an adult fist, and it weighs about one pound. Just like any other muscle, we have to exercise it (or use it) to keep it healthy.

When we exercise, our muscles call for more oxygen, so we start to breathe faster and our heart rate increases to meet the demand of oxygen that our muscles need. The more oxygen your body gets the more energy you will have. Exercise helps your heart – and your body – stay healthy in a number of ways:

  1. Helps your body maintain overall good health.
  2. Helps build and maintain healthy and strong bones and muscles.
  3. Increases flexibility and aerobic endurance.

Physical activity can also raise your self-esteem, improve your mood, help you sleep better and give you more energy. It should be as important to your daily routine as brushing your teeth, bathing and getting enough sleep. Making it a part of your everyday life is also a good way to help achieve and maintain a healthy body weight. It’s important to be physically active every day.

Be sure to check out our “Your Happy Heart” and “Healthy Heart” lessons, activities to help your children understand the importance of keeping their hearts healthy.

Get kids active this summer through Skyhawks youth sports camps – discounted registration
Keep your kids active this summer and save $10 on the registration fee for Skyhawks™ youth sports camps.  Our Health Powered Kids program is committed to keeping kids healthy, active and eating right and so is Skyhawks. Discount good for camps in Minnesota and Western Wisconsin for the first 100 online registrations on Enter your zip code to find camps in your area. Use discount code: AHO515 at check out (expires May 31, 2015).

What’s that you say?

Did you hear something? Maybe the sound you heard was as quiet as your cat licking her paws. Or maybe it was loud, like a siren going by. Sounds are everywhere, and your ears are in charge of collecting those sounds, processing them, and sending sound signals to your brain. And that’s not all — your ears also help you keep your balance. So if you bend over to pick up your pencil, you won’t fall down.

As body parts go, your ears don’t ask for much. They don’t need to be brushed like your teeth or trimmed like your fingernails, but they do need to be protected in certain situations. The ear is made up of three different sections: the outer ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear. All these parts work together so we can hear and process sounds.

Protect your hearing by wearing earplugs at loud music concerts or around noisy machinery. Keep the volume down on your car stereo and be mindful while wearing headphones. Remember, your ears take care of you, so be sure to take care of them.

Check out our “Listen hear! All About the Ear” lesson to help your children understand the different parts of the ear and how to protect them.

Health Talk: Not just for the health classroom

Students at Isanti Intermediate School For All Seasons located in Isanti, Minnesota got a taste of health in more classrooms than just “health”. Each year, the school holds STEAM week. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math. For three days during the week, students in grades kindergarten through fifth grade are mixed together and rotate through classrooms that each feature guest speakers from the community.

Several staff from the Wellness department at Cambridge Medical Center, part of Allina Health, along with nursing students from Anoka Ramsey Community College – Cambridge Campus, were involved with STEAM week. During the three days of STEAM week, 120 elementary students participated in the activities offered.

Each day, students rotated through four different stations including two healthy snack stations where they learned about healthy snack options, portion sizes and then got to make a variety of fresh, healthy snack recipes including “Sweet Red Pepper Kabobs”, “Stoplight Snack” and “Veggie Bagel Face” from Lana’s Favorite Recipes book.

The other stations included two lessons from Health Powered Kids taught by the nursing students which included “Move It! The Importance of Daily Exercise” and “Love Your Lunch.” During these lessons, students “actively” participated by doing exercises that got their blood pumping and body warm to show what they can do to keep their bodies active and strong. The “Love Your Lunch” lesson allowed students to draw pictures of healthy lunch food options on the printable lunch tray template provided within the lesson.

“Student feedback was very positive, in fact, the kids were so excited about the class by day three we had some students say that they had been waiting all week to come to our class”, says Karla Patrick, Wellness Coordinator at Cambridge Medical Center.

Teachers at the school were also introduced to Health Powered Kids and informed on how to access the lessons, Power Chargers and other activities available for free on the website,  

Overall, the students loved the healthy snacks and activities that staff from Cambridge Medical Center and the students from Anoka-Ramsey Community College had to offer. They heard very positive feedback from both staff and students and are hoping they’ll get to do it again next year.

Self-esteem and body image: Feeling good about being you

IMG_1057Does any of this sound familiar? “I’m too short”, “If only I had curly hair”, “I wish my nose was smaller”. It is common to struggle with body image, no matter who you are. But there are things you can do to help your kids, even at a young age, feel confident and good about themselves.

It is important kids understand how self-esteem and body image are connected. Self-esteem is how you feel about yourself. These feelings can change as things in your life change, such as going to a new school or becoming a brother or sister. Self-esteem can be positive (you love, respect, and trust yourself) or negative (feeling insecure and helpless).

Body image is part of self-esteem. It is how you feel about how you look. Body image also includes how you think others see you. Having a positive body image means that you:

  • feel comfortable in your body and with the way you look
  • feel good about the things your body can do
  • feel empowered to take good care of your physical health.

Some things we can change through effort by studying, practicing and learning. Some things are out of our power to change such as height, race and who our parents are. Then there are some things that may change over time such as our natural hair color, our joints and muscles and our experiences.

Self-esteem can’t be taught, but it can be strengthened. This lesson could spark difficult feelings for young people who are highly insecure, depressed or otherwise struggling. Encourage them to talk to a trusted friend or adult if they find themselves feeling down about themselves on a regular basis or over a long period of time.

Check out our “Self-esteem and Body Image” lesson to help your children reflect on the messages they get and give about personal worth and value. Additional resources can be found at Change to Chill provides free, easy-to-use information to help teens manage their stress in a healthy way.

Empowering healthy choices through being active, eating well and balanced living

If two minute wall sits sound like fun to you, you’re not alone. Kids who attend Love to Grow On Child Development Center in Circle Pines, Minnesota, like them too, says Helen Meissner, teacher at the center. “Wall sits are their favorite power chargers. They just love them.”

Power chargers are two to five minute exercises meant to be used as activity breaks at school or at home, and are one of the components of the Health Powered Kids™ program by Allina Health.

Created by nurses, dieticians, social workers and an exercise physiologist at Allina Health, is a free community education program designed to empower children ages 3-14 to make healthier choices around being active, eating well, keeping clean and stressing less.

Not only are the kids at Love to Grow On Child Development Center staying active with wall sits, they’re also learning how to make healthy snacks. According to Helen, the center grows their own fruits and vegetables in the summer in an effort to set an example and show the kids how to eat healthier. “We use the different food lessons to relate healthy eating to healthy bodies and healthy living. It’s an easy way for the kids to make the connection,” she says.

Parents have been introduced to Health Powered Kids as well through the center’s newsletter. Health related articles, tips and healthy recipes are shared and identified as a quality resource for parents.

“The Health Powered Kids program fits well with our philosophy,” says Executive Director, Linda Bartos King. “We’re incorporating the lessons into our curriculum and helping our kids build lifelong habits for healthier lives.”

Since launching the program in 2013, more than 2,000 individuals and organizations have registered and are using Health Powered Kids. Our 2014 user survey indicated that 88 percent of respondents found Health Powered Kids “essential,” “very helpful” or “helpful” in improving health at their home, school or organization.

Starting a stress-free New Year

Different things cause stress for different people. To adults, childhood can seem like a carefree time. But kids still experience stress. Things like school and their social life can sometimes create pressures that can feel overwhelming for kids. As a parent, you can’t protect your kids from stress — but you can help them develop healthy ways to cope with stress and solve everyday problems.

Some kids might think that an upcoming math test is a big deal, while others won’t give it a second thought. Being aware of what causes us stress is one step in learning how to handle it well.

Watch for trouble sleeping, changes in mood or an upset stomach. Kids deal with stress in both healthy and unhealthy ways. And while they may not initiate a conversation about what’s bothering them, they do want their parents to reach out and help them cope with their troubles.

Check out our “Stress: No body needs it” and “Stress Busters” lessons to help your child identify and cope with stress.

If you’re looking for ways to help your teen, visit our newest program, Change to Chill at This program provides free, easy-to-use information to help teens manage their stress in a healthy way.