Categories : Fitness

 
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Only a decade or two ago children were more physically active.However, today many of the tasks that required physical activity now only require the push of a button.

And while remote controls and riding mowers have made the chores easier, computers and gaming systems have increased the time that children spend sitting.

Physicians, teachers and parents all are encouraging children to make the most of their youth and exercise their bodies. Cardiovascular exercise and strength building exercises should all be finished with stretching exercises for kids.

Stretching helps to improve the function of the muscles and maintain flexibility. But doing stretching first will only prove to increase the risk of injury when kids attempt to stretch a cold muscle.

Stretching will also improve agility and improve performance in any sport or exercise that children choose to participate. There are rules to stretching for both children and adults.

It is important to follow those rules for each of the different stretches to decrease the risk of injury and increase the benefits.

Stretching exercises should address most of the large muscle groups of the child’s body and the small muscle groups that are used in any sport in which they play. One simple stretch is to lie on the back, face to the ceiling and stretch the arms and hands above the head.

Hold this stretch for 10 seconds. This stretch will work the abdominal, arm, shoulders, ankles, spine and back.

In the next stretch kids should lay flat on their back with their arms along side of the body. Bend the legs at the hips 90 degrees and at the knees 90 degrees. Twist the lower body onto the right hip with the left leg on top.
 

Stretching exercises for kids



Keep the shoulders flat against the floor. Using the right hand grab the left knee and pull to stretch the hip and lower back. Hold this stretch for 20 seconds and then stretch the other side. Repeat this 2-4 times.

In this stretch children will be addressing the ligaments and muscles in the lower leg and ankle. In a sitting position with legs in front and feet slightly spread grab the right ankle with the right hand and pull the foot toward the chest. Rotate the foot in both clockwise and counterclockwise positions. Repeat with the other foot.

To stretch the forearms children should kneel down with the toes in the bent up position. Place the hands on the floor with the fingers facing the knees. While keeping your hands flat on the floor lean back, holding for 30 seconds.

Stretching the back, spine and leg muscles together is easy when there are stairs available to use. Have the child stand straight up with their left side facing the stairs. Their left leg should raise and place the left heel on the highest stair they can comfortably reach.

Put hands on hips and lean sideways toward the stairs to stretch the back muscles. Hold this for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.

In this last stretch kids will be stretching their back and lower legs. Using the steps again as a prop have the child stand facing the stairs. Raise on leg and put it on the highest step they can reach.

With hands on hips and back straight lean forward to stretch the hamstrings. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat with the other leg.

Kids should practice these simple stretches after working out or any time after their bodies are warm. By continually stretching their muscles, they will increase their flexibility and improve their physical performance.

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