Routine Stretching for Your Children
By Donna Stark
You've successfully taught your children the benefits of eating nutritiously, exercising daily, and getting the proper amount of sleep every night, and for that, you deserve a mighty round of applause. But have you ever considered teaching them the benefits of stretching as well? Many people think that daily stretching is something that just us "old folks" do when our bodies start to creak and groan, when in fact, it should be a part of everyone's daily routines, including your little one's!
Stretching for Children
Sure, flexibility tends to come naturally for our children, but that doesn't mean they should be exempt from daily stretching. Let's take a look at some reasons why it is so important to incorporate it into their daily routines.
- Injury prevention - Stretching before and after physical activity can reduce the risk of injury
- Flexibility - Encouraging your children to stretch daily can help keep their joints and muscles flexible
- Range of motion - Daily stretching can increase your child's range of motion
- Energy - Stretching increases blood flow to the muscles and can boost your children's energy levels
- Tension - Muscle tension can be reduced which may also decrease the risk of pain and soreness
Teach Your Children the Proper Way to Stretch
You've done well with teaching your children all of the other healthy habits, so let's focus on establishing this one into their daily routine too. Here are some tips on how to stretch properly.
- Watch for pain - Stretching should never hurt, so be sure to teach your children how to recognize when they should pull back or stop completely.
- Hold the stretches - It's important to teach your kids the recommended "hold" time for each stretch. Stretches should be held for at least 10 seconds but no longer than 30. They should be executed with slow, controlled motions and should never be forced.
- Don't bounce - Bouncing through their stretches can create more problems for your children than you would want, so make sure they understand this golden rule.
- Breathe - Have you ever caught yourself holding your breath when you stretch? Well, it's even easier for your children to do the same, so keep an eye on that. Encourage your children to inhale slowly and relax into the stretch as they breathe out.
You already have the tooth brushing, bathing, eating, sleeping, and exercising habits down, so move onto the next and start teaching your children the benefits of stretching! By establishing this habit early on, they will be more likely to carry it with them well into adulthood!
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Culver City, Calif.