Thursday, January 19, 2012

Effective Stretching Workouts for Kids

Kids should stretch after the body is warmed up. Doing this before play time or participating in a sport prepares their muscles and joints for activity. Lateral trunk stretches involve bending to the sides, lengthening the hips, thigh muscles and the latissimus dorsi, which improves the flexibility of the spine. Many activities require kids to bend sideways such as jumping, reaching upward, basketball, tennis and volleyball. Kids should be supervised when stretching to ensure the stretch is executed properly.
Side Bend Stretch
The child should stand with his feet shoulder-width apart, and let his arms hang down to the sides. Have him focus on a picture on the wall that's positioned at eye level. This helps him keep his head up and back straight. He should slowly lift his right arm above his head and bend sideways to the left. Have him reach as far as he can, and hold the stretch for 10 seconds. Then slowly return to the starting position, and repeat on the other side.
Seated Bend
Have the child sit down and make a V shape with her legs extended out in front of her. She should stretch her arms up over her head with her palms facing out. Have her reach for her left foot or ankle with her left hand, lean to the left and stretch her right arm over alongside her right ear. Hold for 10 seconds, and then return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.
Extend and Bend
Have the child position his feet shoulder-width apart. Have him extend both arms above his head, bringing the palms of his hands together. Have him bend sideways to the right as far as he can without losing his balance, then hold for 10 seconds. Come back to the starting position and lean to the left.
Kids can benefit from stretching. They can relieve tight and sore muscles from extended play times or playing a sport. Stretching improves circulation, flexibility and range of motion as well. If muscles are tight, they are not able to go through their full range of motion, so when kids are playing or participating in a sport it can put excessive load on the muscle tissue, increasing the risk of injury.

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