Stretching Exercises for Kids

Shrinivas Kanade Nov 24, 2018
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It is extremely essential to warm up before starting any intense physical exercise. This advice applies to people of all ages, especially growing children. Here is an immense information on stretching exercises for kids.
Exercising on a regular basis has a plethora of benefits. It controls weight, combats health conditions and ailments, improves one's mood, boosts the energy levels, relieves stress, provides immense flexibility, improves circulation, and last but not the least, helps in maintaining a proper posture.
Stretching before any physical activity is just as crucial as the workout itself.
Children should extend their limbs or muscles before beginning any type of workout, as it will prepare their muscles and joints for the activity. They should stretch on both sides of the body, and hold each position for at least 5-10 seconds.

Various Exercises

Kneeling Stretch

This is a simple yogic posture that can be performed at the beginning or at the end of the workout. Instruct the child to kneel with both the feet pressed together and knees apart. The arms should be placed along each side of the body, and both the palms should be facing up.
Next, ask the child to slowly bend over, as if trying, to touch the floor with the forehead. Hold the position for about five seconds, breathing throughout. Release and repeat.

Cat Stretch

This is a great exercise for strengthening the spine and abdominal muscles. Instruct the child to be on his/her hands and knees with no tension in the back. Eyes should be focused on the ground. Start by taking a deep breath.
While exhaling, use the abdominal muscles to push the belly towards the spine, curving the back towards the ceiling. Hold this pose for a count of five before moving back into the original position. This completes one cycle and five such cycles are enough for a child.

Lower Back

As the name suggests, it is useful for the muscles of the lower back, inner thigh, and those on the back of the thighs (hamstrings). Instruct the child to sit on the ground and assume the straddle position. Ask him/her to stretch both legs apart, extended at both sides. Place the palms on the ground in the middle of outstretched legs.
Keeping the back straight, ask the child to lean forward slowly, at the hips, first over the left leg. Exhale and hold it for 10-30 seconds or for as long as he/she can. Repeat the step by bending over the right leg. Thereafter, return to the starting position and inhale. Avoid jerky movements to keep sprain or strain at bay.

Shoulder Blades

Instruct the child to stand with his/her arms stretched out, parallel to the ground. The palms are to be kept facing backward and the thumbs pointing to the ground. Slowly, move the arms backward. The movement of the arms shouldn't end at the shoulders, rather it must extend till the shoulder blades.
Ask the child to do this drill as if squeezing a ball between his/her shoulder blades. This thought may cause him/her to giggle, and it will look like quite a fun activity. Most importantly, instruct the child to continue breathing normally throughout this exercise. Hold for at least five seconds. Release the stretch and repeat.
In addition to performing these exercises, hand strengthening drills, such as wrist curls, grip balls, and wrist rolls are also quite beneficial. Performing warm up drills before indulging in strenuous activities, such as swimming, jogging, or aerobics is extremely important.
The sports-specific stretches for kids are really beneficial when they are executed in a slow and controlled manner. The focus should be on the form and flow of motion while performing these stretching exercises.
Disclaimer: This is for informative purposes only. Always consult a physician before starting any physical fitness program in order to reduce the risk of injury.