Pumping pumpkins: A family-friendly fall workout

Grab the pumpkins off the front porch and get moving! This family-friendly workout is designed for all ages and abilities and is a great way to infuse movement into a fall gathering while enjoying one another’s company. Ideally, you’ll need enough pumpkins so every player has one, and it’s best to have different sizes and weights. Allow players to share and swap pumpkins depending on the difficulty of the activity.

No pumpkins? No problem! These activities can be performed with other household objects: a pillow, stuffed animal, soccer ball, sack of potatoes, etc. You could even invite creativity by taking turns allowing different players to choose an object to play with. Note that the size, shape, weight and durability of an object should be taken into consideration, and adult supervision may be necessary.

You can choose to simply go down the list of movements, performing the activities together, or take turns and cheer one another on. Want to make things more interesting? Write the names of each movement on a slip of paper and place them in a bowl or pumpkin bucket. In another bucket, write down increments of time ranging from 20-60 seconds. Allow the players to take turns drawing out a movement and a time increment to determine the order and duration of the activities. You can play again and again, and it’s a different workout every single time!

The Movements

Great pumpkin march: Hold the pumpkin overhead and march with high knees. Go fast or slow. Option: try passing the pumpkin under one knee at a time in a figure 8 formation (that this works best with small gourds).

Pumpkin scramble: Two players stand back to back, one player holds a pumpkin. The player holding the pumpkin can choose to pass the pumpkin to the other player by twisting right or left, passing overhead, or bending to reach between the legs. Shake it up by choosing different directions each time you pass the pumpkin!

Pumpkin zombie walk: Hold the pumpkin straight out in front of your chest. Walk with straight legs, kicking toes up toward the pumpkin.

Pass-the-pumpkin wall sits: All players stand side by side against a wall and bend knees as if sitting in a chair. One player holds a pumpkin. Pass the pumpkin from one player to the next, then reverse the direction.

Pumpkin-toss wall sits: Choose one player to be the pumpkin tosser. All other players assume a wall sit, and the pumpkin tosser takes turns tossing the pumpkin with the players on wall. Don’t let the pumpkin hit the ground!

Pop over the pumpkin: Put the pumpkin on the ground in front of your feet. Step or hop over it, then spin around and step or hop over it in the other direction. This can be performed side to side, as well.

Hand-off sit ups: Two players sit on the ground facing one another with their knees bent and toes touching. One player holds the pumpkin. Both players lie all the way down and reach hands overhead, then sit back up and hand off the pumpkin. Repeat.

Plank around the pumpkin: Each player places a pumpkin on the ground and gets into a plank/push-up position. Walk on hands and feet in a circle around the pumpkin, then reverse the direction.

Kendra Rorabaugh is supervisor of Group Fitness at the Prisma Health Life Center® Health & Conditioning Club and facilitator for MoveWell, Prisma Health’s online fitness program.

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