4/15/2013

FLEXIBILITY IN CHILDREN


Flexibility is your joints' ability to move freely through a wide range of motions. Most children are naturally more flexible than adults since joints often tighten up with age. In my article, “Choosing a Fitness Programme 3: Flexibility Training,” I identified some benefits of flexibility training. Just like adults, kids need to stretch their bodies. Always remember that flexibility varies by age, so certain ages of children are more flexible than others. I teach dance to the children at Tenderville, and I’ve spotted toddlers performing a half split without giving it a thought, while some would bring their foot up towards their lips. Unfortunately, I’m never quick enough to catch those moments in camera. At my last practice session with the older kids, I had them show me their acrobatic moves; this time around I had my camera so I took some pictures. I was amazed at the ease with which they performed straddle splits, head stands, cart wheels, etc.

Before I share the pictures, I would briefly highlight the disadvantage of poor flexibility in kids and ways to improve flexibility in children.

Poor muscle flexibility can cause children to experience tenderness, soreness and pain after participating in athletics. Less flexible muscles often sustain more damage than more flexible ones. Lack of flexibility can also affect a child’s motor skills. Including gentle stretching exercises in children's daily exercise sessions can help improve flexibility

Why should your child stretch?
  • Stretching can prevent injuries.
  • Stretching helps kids' bodies recover after exercise.
  • Stretching helps kids' bodies become and remain flexible (able to move joints and muscles in a full range of motion) as they grow into adulthood.
  • Flexible bodies are more agile and perform better.
  • Stretching reduces muscle tension.

How to improve your child’s flexibility
  • Let them participate in sporting activities like swimming, gymnastics and dance, which naturally improve flexibility.
  • If your child participates in another type of sport that does not boost flexibility on its own, such as soccer, you can include pre-game and post-game stretching to help keep him/her flexible.
  • Yoga classes are another way to ensure children's bodies regularly move through their entire range of motion to keep joints and bones moving freely.
Now the pictures! If you think any of the below moves are easy, try them out, I won't be responsible for any bone dislocations!












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