We all know the importance of exercise… and especially for children. Exercise not only improves their cardiovascular health and bone density, but regular exercise from a young age ingrains healthy habits for life! While exercising is an important habit your children should be practicing regularly, they could be missing out on a crucial factor: stretching!
The Benefits of Stretching
Stretching is not just beneficial for children—it’s necessary! By forgoing stretching before or after exercise, your little one runs the risk of injuries and delayed recovery. A few minutes spent stretching both before and after exercising touts numerous benefits, but here are a few of the biggest advantages:
- Gets their blood pumping. By having your little one spend a few minutes stretching and warming up before exercising, their muscles will have less tension and they’ll be ready to get out there and play.
- Reduces the risk of injury: If your little one doesn’t stretch prior to exercising, they run the risk of sustaining an injury. When kids go directly into exercising without warming up, they could easily pull a muscle. Similarly, if children don’t properly cool down post-exercise, their muscles won’t recover as quickly and could sustain an injury.
- Increases flexibility and range of motion. Stretching can greatly increase your child’s flexibility and range of motion.
Stretches Your Little One Can Do Today
There are lots of stretches your little one can easily implement in their exercise routine to halt injuries and increase performance and overall health. Here is some simple stretches to have them try out today:
- Hamstring Stretch – Sitting on a mat or other comfortable surface, have your little one extend both legs in front of them; making sure their back is straight. Have them lean forward slowly, reach for their toes and exhale. Hold this stretch for 10 to 15 seconds and repeat.
- Kneel Stretch – Have your little one kneel while pressing both feet together and putting their knees apart. Have them place their arms along each side of their body with both palms facing upward. Have them slowly bend over and hold the position for 10 to 15 seconds, making sure they are breathing deeply. Release from the stretch and repeat.
- Shoulder Stretch – Have your little one stand with their arms outstretched at their sides, palms facing down. Have them slowly press their arms backwards as if they were squeezing something in between their shoulder blades. Have them breathe normally, hold for 10 to 15 seconds and repeat.
- Knees to Chest – You child can complete this simple stretch by lying on the floor and bending their knees and bringing them to their chest. Have the breath regularly while rocking gently. Hold for 15 to 20 seconds and repeat.
At Coastal Orthopedics, you and your child’s health is our #1 priority. If your little one has sustained a sports injury, we can help get them get back in the game! To experience the Coastal difference, call our office or make an appointment online here.