Flexibility comes naturally to children. However, that does not mean that they cannot benefit from some extra coaching. Teaching your child basic stretching routines and habits will help them to prevent injury whenever they engage in sports. A regular habit of stretching will also improve their flexibility, enhancing their athletic prowess.
Here are four great flexibility-enhancing exercises you can teach your children.
This exercise is a traditional yoga sequence that is great for all ages. As the name suggests, this routine is best performed just after waking up in the morning to give the muscles a good stretch. The whole family can take part in this exercise together each morning to prepare for the day. All you need to do is follow the steps below.
- Stand up straight.
- Breathe in deeply and swing your hands high above your head before breathing out.
- Breathe in deeply again and bend at your waist to reach for your toes before breathing out.
- Place your hands flat on the ground and move your feet one at a time into a plank.
- Take a deep breath, in and out.
- Lower your body to the floor and push up with your hands, lifting your chest while keeping your legs on the floor. Raise your head and take another deep breath, in and out.
- Raise your hips until your body is in the downward dog pose.
- Jump to bring your feet backwards and then forwards before standing up straight again.
Butterfly Hip Stretch
The hip muscles of children gradually become tighter and less mobile as they grow older. The butterfly hip stretch is great for lengthening and strengthening hip muscles to help your children maintain and improve their flexibility.
- Sit with your back straight in the floor and touch the soles of your feet together.
- Pull the soles of your feet as close to yourself as possible which still touching them to each other.
- Hold the position and breathe deeply for 30 seconds.
- You can lower your forehead to your soles for a deeper stretch.
This is a great exercise for working out the leg muscles. Not only is it an effective warm up activity for any sport, it also promotes better balance. Here is how to do it.
- Decide on a distance. It can be anywhere from the length of your living room to the length of the entire soccer field.
- Take a large step forward, lowering your opposite knee just above the floor. Note that your front knee should be just above your front foot.
- Push through your front heel to stand up and bring your back knee up to your chest before stepping forward with that leg to do the next lunge.
- Repeat the steps until you have the covered the whole distance.
This fun routine is a huge favorite for many kids. Make sure that it is performed in an open space to avoid accidentally kicking something.
- Step out with your right foot.
- Kick your left foot high and reach for your raised left toe with your right hand.
- Hold onto your left toe for one breath.
- Drop your left leg and kick your right foot high to repeat the exercise.
- You can repeat the steps until you have covered the length of the room.
To incorporate stretching your kids daily lifestyles and make it more comfortable for them, you can get a floor mat to help them do their stretches. It is also important to remember that stretching should be fun. Your kids may feel sore when they stretch but it should not be painful. Teach them to listen to their body and stretching will always be enjoyable for them.