The benefits of stretching are numbers. These 11 stretches for your child will help not only lengthen their body but as with any activity help them develop consistent good habits. Regular exercise also improves cardiovascular health and bone density.
The 11 stretches for your child listed below will help your child’s joints move through a full range of motion, their muscles will have less tension and they’ll be ready to play.
These 11 stretches for your child are fun and easy to do. Stretching is very important, teaching your children to develop the habit of stretching before any physical activity in order to prevent injury.
Proper Stretching Technique (source)
It is essential to practice proper stretching techniques. Doing so will allow you to avoid any unnecessary injury. Tips to proper stretching include the following:
- Warm up first – Stretching muscles when they’re cold increases your risk of pulled muscles. Warm up by walking while gently pumping your arms, or do a favorite exercise at low intensity for five minutes.
- Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds – It takes time to lengthen tissues safely. Hold your stretches for at least 30 seconds. For most muscle groups, if you hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds, you’ll need to do each stretch only once.
- Don’t bounce – Bouncing as you stretch can cause small tears in the muscle, which leaves scar tissue as the muscle heals. The scar tissue tightens the muscle even further, making you even less flexible and more prone to pain.
- Focus on a pain-free stretch – If you feel pain as you stretch, you’ve stretched too far. Back off to the point where you don’t feel any pain, then hold the stretch.
- Relax and breathe freely – Don’t hold your breath while you’re stretching.
- Stretch both sides – Make sure your joint range of motion is as equal as possible on each side of your body
- Stretch before and after activity – Light stretching after your warm-up, followed by a more thorough stretching regimen after the workout, is best way to stretch.
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 are 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 backward 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.
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