Exercises should always be a part of one’s routine. Such practices should start from an early stage, especially from early childhood. Simple stretches are the best way to start and are also mandatory before and after an intense workout or sports activity. Stretching enhances muscle flexibility and facilitates several movements required to perform during any activity. It minimizes the risk of injury while boosting muscle strength. A good stretch should be performed in proper order, i.e, starting with a warm-up using a machine or some lightweight, the second stage includes the performance of dynamic stretches to heat up the muscle. Any position should be kept on hold for at least 30 seconds.
In this article:
11 Fun and Simple Stretches for Kids
Downward Facing Dog
1) Make your child stand straight and ask him/her to avoid bending knees.
2) Instruct the child to raise the arms and move them forward to touch the ground.
3) Make sure that the body makes a V curve and there is enough distance between legs and hands.
4) Ask the child to hold the position for at least 10 seconds.
Read More:Yoga Benefits for Kids
1) Instruct the child to start with the downward posing dog pose and then bend the elbows while going down on the floor.
2) Next is to make her raise the chest forward and upward, with neck positioned outwards.
3) This position should be held for 10 seconds.
1) Ask the child to kneel down with space between legs, coordinating with the distance between the shoulders.
2) Hands should be placed at the lower back which can be easily used to push the back forward during warm-up.
3) Now, ask the child to go all the way back until hands can touch the ankles.
4) The position should be held for 5 seconds.
1) Make the kid sit down with both the legs reaching out straight and the back perpendicular to the floor.
2) Arms should be gently extended towards the tip of the toes.
3) Once hands have reached the tip, ask the child to hold the position for 10 seconds.
Tree Pose or Vrikshasana
1) Tell the child to firmly insert the right leg on the floor and then raise the left knee towards the waist.
2) Then gently place the sole of the left foot on the upper right thigh.
3) Ask the child to join both the hands and then raise the elbows, making sure that forearms are parallel to the ground.
4) The position should be held for 10 seconds on both the legs.
Warrior Pose or Virabhadrasana
1) Tell the child to stretch out legs in a wide-angle beyond the hips.
2) Now tell the child to turn left toe inward and the right one outward while making sure that the right foot makes the angle of 90 degrees to her body.
3) Now arms should be raised till they are parallel to the floor while bending the right knee to a point. But the knee should not exceed the level of the right foot.
4) The position should be held for 10 seconds on both the legs.
The Wheel Pose
1) Ask the child to lie on the floor with the knees folded and ankles touching the buttocks.
2) Now tell him/her to place the palms under the shoulder while lifting up the body with the help of palms and ankles.
3) The position should be held for 5-7 seconds.
1) Ask the child to lie down facing the floor with the support of forearms and toes.
2) It is important to ensure that the full body is in a straight, linear position.
3) Ask her to move the body back and forth in a rocking position.
4) The pulses should be continued for 10 seconds and the plank position should be held for another 10 seconds.
Cross-Body Arm Stretch
1) Make the child stand with feet at parallel to the distance of the shoulders.
2) Place the left arm across the chest and use the right arm to pull it closer to the body.
3) Pulses should be given for at least 10 seconds.
4) The process should be repeated for both arms.
Cow- Face Pose
1) Ask the child to raise the left arm and bend it behind the head.
2) Then the right hand should be brought behind the back to reach up to the left hand.
3) The position should be held for 10 seconds and then repeated on the other side.
Straight-Arm Wall Stretch
1) Ask the child to place the right arm on the wall with the palm facing the wall or ceiling.
2) Press the shoulder against the wall and gently move the chest away while still pulling the arm.
3) This should be repeated for both the arms with the hold of 20 seconds.
Stretching Activities and Games
Mirror Image Challenge
Herein, two kids are positioned face-to-face to mimic each other. The one is able to twist and stretch more efficiently wins the game.
Kids are divided into groups of 3 members and a secret alphabet is given to each group which they have to make with the help of their bodies. The other groups have to guess the alphabet being enacted. The team which makes the best alphabet wins.
The kids are made to stand in front of each other. They have to fall towards each other with the motive of holding the position by touching each other’s palms.
Benefits of Stretching
- A routine practice of stretching and simple yoga helps to improve cognitive functioning and attention span of the children.
- Stretching and cardio together can increase blood circulation in the body.
- Stretching post and after any physical activity like regular sport can reduce the risk of muscle injury and can calm the muscles respectively.
- Regular exercises can help the kid to increase height and manage weight.
- Due to physical activities, the child may suffer from chronic pain due to muscle tension. Stretching post-workout can help to ease out the pain.
- Stretching improves posture and makes the tail bone stronger.
- It helps to level up the mood thereby, making kids more happy and productive.
When Should Kids Start Stretching?
- Kids should be trained to stretch from an early age of 4 to 5 years. By this time they can master body mobility and all the major sensory movements. Also, body flexibility is at its peak during the formative years and thus, it is good to add these practices into a daily routine to keep the body healthy.
- As kids do not require intense training, therefore, stretching and other physical activities can be practiced 4 times a week with the rest of the week as a rest period.
Age plays a crucial role in imparting certain healthy values and lifestyle habits. Inculcating such practices of stretching and yoga not only make the bodies of kids more functional but also help them to realize the importance of such practices later on in life as the well-being is maintained in the long term.