Children and the value of flexibility training
It is a common myth among parents that stretching and other forms of manual therapy are not important or necessary for children or young adults. In fact, flexibility and frequent movement habits should be emphasized as much as possible during the early years of life. This is not only to benefit them in their youth, but also to help ensure a higher quality of life in adulthood!
Stretching targets many types of tissues aside from muscles and tendons. A focused and regimented program will benefit several key systems in the body, including the nervous system! Stretching itself is proven to promote feelings of relaxation that are attributed to an upregulation in parts of the nervous system responsible for rest and recovery. The effects are profound and include decreasing stress as well as enhanced circulation to digestive organs.
The two forms of stretching exercise are active and passive, and they each affect the body differently.
Passive stretches are often held for long periods of time and can place undue pressure on ligaments and joint capsules that may destabilize joints and may be overall counterproductive according to current research, especially if performed pre-activity.
Active stretching routines, on the other hand, require the participation of the subject, safely encouraging flexibility without overstressing important joints. This method will also enhance neuromuscular control that will aid in body awareness and enhance factors important for the development of a healthy musculoskeletal system. Care must always be taken to avoid overstretching areas that may already be hypermobile as this could lead to structural imbalances and strength deficits.
If you or your child are considering flexibility training, consider Mattes Method Active Isolated Stretching. This is a comprehensive system of mobility and strength movements that can be implemented safely and effectively. If your “youngster” (5 or older) suffers from poor posture, growing pains, sports tension, overuse syndromes, or is just “stressed out” then a personalized active stretching session will quickly add relief.
Please contact Adrian Yahvah at The Body Group to book a session. We look forward to seeing you soon!