Five simple stretches you can do with your kids
Stretching is a great way to increase children’s flexibility, posture and athletic performance as well as preventing injuries.
The main types of stretches are static and dynamic. Static stretching is holding a stretch without movement for around 15-30 seconds usually only at the end-range of a muscle. These stretches are great to perform during a cool down to increase flexibility and reduce muscle tightness.
With dynamic stretches you move a muscle group through its range of motion, usually to warm up muscles that are about to be used in an activity. Dynamic stretching prepares the joints for movement and muscles for optimal activation.
Maintaining good posture and flexibility is important for growing children and can prevent muscle imbalances. Reducing muscle tension is just as important for kids as it is for adults as muscles can become very tight from stress and during growth spurts. Stretching increases blood circulation and can also be beneficial when done for 10-15 minutes on its own, not only before or after exercise. Below are some examples of stretches that you can practice with your child to help your body and joints move more freely, allowing you to enjoy full functional mobility.
How to do child’s pose:
Kneel with your knees spread slightly apart. Slowly bring your chest down to your knees and outstretch your arms so that your forehead is touching the ground. This is a very relaxing pose and gently stretches your torso and upper back as well as flexing your ankles, stretching your thighs and opening up your hips. This yoga pose is a good way for kids to begin and/or end a stretching session.
How to do the knee lunge:
Start by kneeling on one knee. Place the opposite foot flat in front of you. Keep your back straight, and gently press forward until the knee is bent at a 90-degree angle. Make sure that the knee is directly over the ankle. This stretches the left hip and groin. Place hands on left knee to stabilize and hold for 10 to 30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat.
Source: Bicycling Magazine
How to stretch your hamstrings:
Sit on the ground with one leg out straight to the side of your body. Bend the opposite knee and touch the sole of your foot to the thigh of the straight leg. Reach out and touch the ankle or toes of your outstretched leg. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds; you should feel a good stretch.
How to do the cat-cow stretch:
Get on all fours in a crawling position. Your spine should be neutral. If a mirror is available, you can check that your back should be flat across the top. First lift your head and neck and look up to the ceiling. This should give your upper back a noticeable stretch as it relieves tension caused by hunching over a desk or computer all day. This is the “cow” part of the pose. Next, slowly move your head down so that the spine moves back through the neutral position and arch your back so that the middle of your spine points towards the ceiling. This is the “cat” part of the stretch. This stretch is good for the spine and also strengthens the abdominal muscles. Repeat 5-10 times.
Knees to Chest
How to do the knees to chest stretch:
Complete this stretch serie by lying on the floor. Then bend both knees and bring them to your chest. Breathe regularly while rocking from side to side gently for around 20 seconds.
Stretching can definitely enable your child to have better physical health, however, stretching in improper ways can do more harm than good. Here at WorldTrainer China, we not only offer professional and safe physical training but encourage youths to interact with other youths in a cross-cultural environment to improve their social skills.
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