Health & Fitness

The cool kids? They're playing outside

"How to get the kids off the computer?" is the question for today's parents, who often are alarmed to find themselves more fit than their children. One answer: Give them outdoor sports gear so cool, so innovative, so captivating that it tricks them into running around in the grass or playing on the streets -- if not all day, at least for an hour or two. That'll still leave them plenty of time to rush back in and instant message their friends about it.

Scooter kicked up a notch

Pulse Kick 'n Go Xcelerator: Super scooter with a foot-operated, ratcheting gear mechanism that drives the rear wheel.

Likes: Instant mastery. Nothing to figure out. Pump your foot up and down on the ratchet bar to propel it as fast as 10 miles per hour. High coolness factor. Kids never need to put a foot on the ground. Can also be used as a regular push scooter. Includes a hand brake and a kickstand. Very stable due to big wheel in front. The kids in my neighborhood loved Kick 'N Go and fought over it for three hours after I left it with them.

Dislikes: Can be a little slower than a normal push scooter. The kids kept asking, "When are they coming out with a model with a second gear?"

Price: $119.99. (866) 434-6067; www.pulsekickngo.com.

A sled for all seasons

Ice Meister Slicer: An all-season plastic sled, outfitted with two thin blocks of ice, designed to slide down grassy slopes. Ice lasts one hour at room temperature, much less in 80-degree heat.

Likes: Great fun for everyone. Feels just like snow sledding, without the snow. All smiles and laughter as you zoom downhill. Easy set up: fill up the two square-foot, 2-inch-deep ice trays, freeze overnight, clip into bottom of sled, and find a grassy slope. It's stealthy fitness; the kids happily ran uphill to do it again and again. Can be used all day in the snow and 45 minutes on grass (until the ice blocks melt).

Dislikes: The ice blocks melt. If no steep, grassy hill is nearby, you're out of luck.

Price: $59.95. (303) 517-1973; www.icesled.com.

Skater's challenge

Xliders: Two matching mini-skateboards with dual, fully pivoting wheels.

Likes: Challenging, coordination-building and -- once you get the hang of it -- extremely cool. It's skateboard-meets-in-line skates. You propel yourself by wiggling your body and pumping your legs back and forth. The manufacturer's claims that Xliders help build a better athlete seem true; your whole body works hard just to maintain balance. Athletic types will love the maneuverability, the speed and the challenge.

Dislikes: Not so easy to learn. The instability can be scary. Requires coordination, balance, guts and patience. Non-athletes and the uninsured will flee in fear.

Price: $149.99. (800) 586-7872; www.jumpusa.com.

Shoes with a message

Graffeeti Shoes: Retro high-top sports sneakers with writeable areas on them.

Likes: They're fun and encourage social interaction. "The concept of writeable shoes is great," said our 12-year-old tester, who used them as "human text messaging" -- i.e. flirting with girls ("Hi, I like your shoes") and joking with his male friends ("You dork"). He says "everyone likes to write on their shoes nowadays -- especially girls." One pen attaches to the shoe for instant use. Comes with six colors of pens. Rubs off with a tissue.

Dislikes: Not sporty enough for real sports. Slippery soles lack good grip for running. Hard to put on due to narrow high-top and use of sticky, plastic-y material. The dry-erase ink doesn't come off easily if you leave it on more than a couple days.

Price: $41.(800) 851-1272; www.graffeeti.com.

Irvine-based endurance cyclist and runner Roy M. Wallack is the coauthor of "Bike for Life: How to Ride to 100." Reach him at roywallack@aol.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
  • A sled for all seasons
    A sled for all seasons

    Ice Meister Slicer: An all-season plastic sled, outfitted with two thin blocks of ice, designed to slide down grassy slopes. Ice lasts one hour at room temperature, much less in 80-degree heat. Likes: Great fun for everyone. Feels just like snow sledding, without the snow. All smiles and...

  • Skater's challenge
    Skater's challenge

    Xliders: Two matching mini-skateboards with dual, fully pivoting wheels. Likes: Challenging, coordination-building and -- once you get the hang of it -- extremely cool. It's skateboard-meets-in-line skates. You propel yourself by wiggling your body and pumping your legs back and forth. The...

  • Shoes with a message
    Shoes with a message

    Graffeeti Shoes: Retro high-top sports sneakers with writeable areas on them. Likes: They're fun and encourage social interaction. "The concept of writeable shoes is great," said our 12-year-old tester, who used them as "human text messaging" -- i.e. flirting with girls ("Hi, I like your...

  • Homemade deodorant and scalp treatment recipes
    Homemade deodorant and scalp treatment recipes

    If you're intrigued by the idea of using simple ingredients mostly found in your garden or kitchen to help care for your hair and skin, there are a number of books that offer guidance — among them, Annie Strole's "Homemade Beauty: 150 Simple Beauty Recipes Made From All-Natural...

  • Earth-to-face beauty products grow in popularity
    Earth-to-face beauty products grow in popularity

    It's become almost ho-hum to read a menu that lists precisely where the apples were picked or how the cow was raised. So what's the next wave in sourcing? It's already upon us. People are becoming as picky about what goes on their skin as what goes in their bodies, and they are looking to the...

  • Study offers support for the notion of e-cigarettes as a gateway drug
    Study offers support for the notion of e-cigarettes as a gateway drug

    Do e-cigarettes lure teens into a world of vice that turns them into smokers of regular cigarettes? This is the big fear of anti-smoking activists, and new data from Hawaii suggest they may be right.

  • Gift ideas for the traveling health fanatic
    Gift ideas for the traveling health fanatic

    As a globe-trotting health enthusiast, I know how hard it can be to find a useful gift for me. We're a somewhat picky bunch — when you live out of a suitcase, you don't have much choice.

  • Winter equipment to protect you from ice, snow, the dark and cold
    Winter equipment to protect you from ice, snow, the dark and cold

    We're a little arrogant about our fitness here in Southern California. While millions of other Americans bundle up against the Arctic chill blasting a swath of the country, we happily keep on cycling and running and skating in shorts and tank tops. But now it's December; nighttime...

Comments
Loading