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  • Tami Bruskotter

Post #27 Get Kids Stretching! Grownups, Too!!!

In Podcast Episode #22 Tami Covers the Importance of Stretching for Kids, But Really, It's Good Advice for kids of all ages!


Sources:

https://www.livestrong.com/article/351922-childs-flexibility-issues/

https://www.verywellfamily.com/kids-stretching-and-flexibility-1256998

https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=teach-teens-to-stretch-1-2166


Recently, we were contacted by friend and fan of the podcast, Lince Cosme. She trains Youth Baseball for Strength & Flexibility and asked, "Can you please do an episode about getting kids to stretch? I'm working with these kids and they're so tight!"

Heck Yeah, we can do that... And, thanks for the topic, Lince!


Of course, kids need to stretch regularly! I'm not talking about those awful, 2-bounces-in-a-bad-postion-then-speedy-shoulder-ripping-arm-circles stretches...why do coaches still teach that crap?!? I mean real, body-aware, flexibility work that can actually benefit growing bodies. All Kids, not just the sporty ones, need to stretch regularly.

Aren't All Kids Naturally Flexible?


Sure, when they're babies and toddlers. Their little bodies are primed for rapid growth and muscle development, and their bones take time to solidify. Just the ways that infants and toddlers play, explore, tumble, and rest promote flexibility. Some kids will keep their flexibility long into adulthood, regardless of their daily activity.


Most kids, however, will start to lose that stretchiness between the ages of 4-6. This is when they usually start some form of schooling and are learning to sit in the same general position for gradually extending hours each day. They also sit still playing video games (even the educational ones) and while watching TV. The hamstrings muscles at the back of the thighs tighten with sitting. Then, as they age, their tech time increases. Now it's not just the legs getting tight, but also the back, the neck, the shoulders, and the abs.



Any Benefits?


So many! And if you get kids into the habit of stretching regularly now, their bodies will actually start to crave that lengthened feeling well into and throughout their adulthood.

Benefits include:

  • More Flexibility = Less Injuries

  • Better & Faster Recovery after exercise.

  • Increased Agility

  • Reduced Muscle Tension

  • Improved Joint Health

  • Increased Range of Motion

  • Increased Blood Flow to the Muscles and Brain

  • Bones grow faster than Muscles, so Stretch to ease those Growing Pains!


Any Risks?


Yes, injuries can occur with any physical activity. Stretching is not passive.

  • Overstretching can cause tears in the muscles

  • Improper Form can also tear muscle, cause spasms, & make tightness worse

  • Too Many Days Between Stretching Sessions will increase tightness

Good Habits Now are Good Habits for Life!


Teach kids to do it properly:

  • STRETCH REGULARLY

  • NO BOUNCING

  • HOLD POSITION UP TO 30sec

  • DISCOMFORT IS OK - PAIN IS NOT

  • AND BREATHE!!!!

  • Here's a link to a great video for the whole family: https://youtu.be/L_xrDAtykMI




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