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Getting the most from your warm-up and stretches

Warm-up and stretching
Enjoy-a-Ball warm-up and stretching

Warm-up and stretches before and after being active can be very Enjoy-a-Ball and is important to help prevent injury or strain.

Picture this – it is 198…Erm…something. Never mind that, let’s start again.

Once upon a time, a long time ago people (A.K.A. parents of today’s kids) were taught the importance of warm-up exercises and stretching, and most of us are very likely to have carried on with pretty much the same routine ever since. Science, however, has moved on. Researchers now believe that some of the more “This is the way I was taught to stretch” elements of many warm-up and stretching routines are not only a waste of time but actually bad for you. The old classic – static stretching – where you hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds, can, in fact weaken your muscles if used before a work-out or exercise.

So what should a good warm-up and stretching routine do?

In short – getting your body ready to work.

Types of Warm-Ups

Often a warm-up activity is simply the activity you are about to do but at a slower pace. Kids can warm up muscles by gentle jogging, walking, dancing, swinging arms, kicking legs, and other gentle movements.
Dynamic stretching * can be used in your warm-up. You are warming up your body and preparing muscles that will be used when you are active – adding dynamic stretching helps your joints to move as well as they can. You can do things like shoulder circles and arm swings, hip circles, lunges, leg swings and skipping.
* When you perform dynamic stretches, instead of holding the stretch for a   period of time, you repeatedly move your joints and muscles through a full range of motion. Dynamic stretches also improve your flexibility and help reduce risk of injury.

Cool Down with Static Stretches

So you have finished your game of tennis or basketball and your muscles have worked hard and are toasty hot – now is the time for some static stretching. As we said before: static stretching is best and most effective when every stretch (pose) is held for about 20 to 30 seconds, which gives enough time for muscle fibers to lengthen. You should stretch for five to 10 minutes and do stretches for your chest, shoulders, arms, back and legs.

Stretch to Keep Healthy

Stretching is a great way to help your child get body awareness in a positive way. It can help to:

And if you are stretched to think of some ways to warm and stretch; here are a few links:


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