Be an animal to build core strength!
It is equally important for children to have good core strength as it is for adults. Core strength includes those muscles that control our trunk (abdominal and spinal extensors) as well as muscles around our shoulders and hips. These muscles are necessary for providing the stability for walking, running, and jumping as well as balance and activities of the arms and legs. Weak core muscles can negatively impact overall development and activities of daily living. As core muscles get stronger so do the muscles in the arms and legs.
To provide play opportunities to improve core strength you can have your child do these activities:
* Bunny hop - Jump with feet together with hands held up like a bunny
* Flamingo - Stand on one leg at a time with the other leg bent at the knee
* Penguin Walk - Child walks on their heels with toes up, hands at their sides with palms out
* Bear walk - Hands and feet on the floor with bottom in the air. Then, move hands and feet as a bear might walk
* Crab Walk - Sit on the floor, with hands and feet planted on floor, push up on hands and feet with tummy to the sky. Then “walk” on hands and feet across the surface. Don’t let the bottom touch the floor
* Frog Jumps - Squat with hands touching the floor in front of you. Jump keeping hand in front of you, close to the floor.
* Bridging - Child lays on back with knees bent and feet on floor, he/she lifts bottom off floor as high as they can, hold for a count of 5. Relax with bottom back on the floor.
If your child has any issues with sitting or standing posture, changing positions easily, keeping up with their peers in busy activities or has balance challenges, contact your pediatrician for a referral to Pediatric Physical Therapy.