How young is ‘too young’ to get your child thinking about the value of movement? Is it unreasonable that a five year old should learn the key concepts of core activation and have the ability to do a body weight squat or be able to plank for a minute or longer? It is widely held that children under the ages of 14 should be cautious about, if not avoid, a weight-lifting programme focused on building muscle. Teaching a young athlete balance, agility, and body weight strengthening drills will however not only improve their performance on the field or court but will most probably prevent or minimise injuries. Encouraging these behaviours early on will also make it more likely that the young ‘sprout’ will be more body-aware throughout daily activities and also speak up when they are not feeling well.
Encouraging balance and flexibility in children will facilitate nervous system development and have a positive effect on coordination. Although it is thought that children are inherently flexible, it is possible that many children develop hypomobility in certain joints and this can be complicated by growth spurts around puberty that may coincide with increasing academic demands. During these years, many children engage in sport camps and frequent after school sport activities that can repetitively stress the body in certain movement patterns, creating weakness in other areas of the body. Tendon and muscle injuries can be common during this phase and extra attention should be paid to minimise both acute and chronic conditions. Even the inactive child can benefit greatly from the benefits of full body flexibility and training several times per week for both physical and mental gain. This can encourage self-esteem and promote relaxation with the added advantage of good posture.
At The Body Group, we regularly work with youth in both treating injuries and the maintenance of posture using full body flexibility and movement protocols. Research supports implementing regular flexibility and postural exercises for the overall development and well being of children and we are experienced in working with children of all ages. Book your appointment for your active youngster today, as an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!