The importance of stretching

We watch our children jump, run, hang from monkey bars but do you ever think about the importance of stretching?

Children in general are pretty flexible, but as those teenage years rear their head, slowly where they once could touch their toes can now barely touch their knees. What happened??

During puberty children often become less flexible. Why? Well as you can imagine during puberty children’s bodies are changing rapidly, some have huge growth spurts and some don’t. Their bones are growing so fast their muscles need a little time to catch up and stretch, limiting their flexibility temporarily. Don’t worry, it all catches up sooner than later, but it’s important during this time to help those poor muscles out by stretching daily, not only on game day.

A common myth out there is you should stretch before you workout/play a sport….WRONG! Right now your saying to yourself WHAT that’s crazy, give me a second to explain myself.

We all know that stretching prevents injuries and improves athletic performance but there is a step before that needs to happen before we stretch it’s called a warm up! Before your kids start any exercise they should do a low intensity aerobic exercise to get the blood flowing to the muscles i.e. jumping jacks, high knees, butt kicks. This should last about 10 minutes. I can’t stress this enough to parents that stretching cold muscles can lead to injuries so please tell your children.

Now that we’ve got that covered it’s time to stretch.  Warm muscles will have a greater range of motion vs cold muscles. Teach your children that when they stretch it should only feel like a gentle pull and not painful.

AT H2T we hold each stretch for 10 seconds doing 2 reps, covering all body parts.  After your workout it’s great to end with a stretch as well, to help prevent stiffness and aid in the recovery process for their muscles.

So back to the question stretch before or after…… both is the answer but just make sure your children are nice and warmed up before.

Remember to keep it fun, after all you want them to do this and you know….. you should join them as everyone can benefit from a daily stretching session.

Until next time…….Stay Fit Stay Healthy!

Sue Forberg-PTS

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