Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Stretches for Before and After Sports Practice

Exercise at any age is beneficial to your health- both mental and physical. It is equally important to encourage stretching before and after sports practice and games to keep kids' muscles limber and avoid or reduce soreness. Here are a few simple stretches for kids to do before and after taking part in sports activities:

Spine Stretches
  • Put your hands in the air and reach as high as you can.
  • Hold your arms above your head and lean to your left side and hold for ten seconds, repeat on the right side.
  • Keep your legs straight and spread them shoulder width apart. Lean over and reach down to your left foot for ten seconds. Repeat on your right side.

Upper Body Stretches
  • Cross your left arm across your chest and hold for ten seconds. Repeat with your right arm.
  • Lift your left arm behind your head and touch your right shoulder. To deepen the stretch, hold your elbow and pull lightly with your right arm. Repeat on the other side.
  • Put your arms behind your back and interlace your fingers. Bending forward at the waist, lift your arms up until you feel the stretch. Release after ten seconds.

Lower Body Stretches
  • Stand on your right foot and bend your left leg and hold your ankle with your left hand. (Be careful, this stretch requires balance). After holding for ten seconds, repeat on the other side.
  • Sit down and put the bottoms of your feet together in front of you. Pull your feet in closer for a deeper stretch. Hold for ten seconds.
  • While sitting, put your feet straight in front of you, lean over and try to touch your feet. Spread your legs apart and reach for the left leg and hold for ten seconds, repeat this on the right leg.
While stretching, it is very important to hold the stretch in place without bouncing. If you are in pain or outside of your comfort level, release your stretch and move on. At School-A-Thon, we believe it is important for students to lead an active lifestyle and learn the importance of staying healthy. For more benefits of staying active or family fitness ideas, refer to some of our other blogs.

If your child has an injury, or is training for a specific sport, consult a physical therapist or athletic trainer to determine the safest and most effective stretching exercises.