Provided by: Dr. Benjamin Domb, M.D., Founder, Medical Director & Orthopedic Surgeon at The American Hip Institute & Orthopedic Specialists, special to SportsMD
Why is it Important for Kids to Warm Up?
Educators, medical professionals and more are constantly stressing the importance of physical activity for children. However, they may be leaving out a key area that we as adults know to be crucial to our fitness routines, warming up.
Warming up should be done before physical activity as it helps to keep the muscles flexible, strong and healthy. While they are resilient and full of energy, the same goes for kids. According to Health eNews, stretching improves flexibility, which is as important as strength for sports performance and injury prevention in growing children.
What are the Best Sports Warm-Ups for Kids?
There is an abundance of easy warm-up exercises that can be incorporated into a child’s daily routine as well as before and after a sporting event, such as a weekly basketball practice or a big tennis tournament.
The following are quick, easy exercises that you can do with your mini-athlete to avoid injury and help them have their best game yet.
- Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent.
- Tighten your lower abdominals, squeeze your buttocks and then raise it. This should create a “bridge” with your body.
- Hold for five seconds and then lower yourself. Repeat 20 times
- Single Leg Dead Lift
- Tighten your core and stand on one leg, keeping your knee aligned with your second toe.
- Perform a single leg squat with your heel on the ground while bending your standing knee to 45 degrees.
- Repeat on each leg for one minute.
- Start by standing in an upright position with your heels flat on the ground at (or slightly wider than) shoulder width apart.
- Keep your core and hips tight, align your knees with your second toe, send your chest up and hips back while doing a slow and controlled squat.
- Repeat with good form for one minute.
- Hip Flexor Stretch
- Start by lying down on either a table or bed.
- Move your leg lower towards the floor until you can feel a stretch along the front of your thigh.
- Hold for 30 seconds and repeat three times.
- Supine Hip External Rotation Stretch
- Begin by lying on your back with one leg crossed over your knee.
- Take your hand and push the crossed knee away from you until you feel a stretch.
- Hold this for 30 seconds and repeat three times.
What are the short and long-term benefits?
Part of being a good parent is setting your child up for success by teaching them healthy habits at an early age that can be practiced throughout their childhood and well into their teenage and adult years. Routinely doing these warm-ups can help your child avoid injuries, minimize physical setbacks and support a safe and fun introduction to sports in their formative years.
Dr. Benjamin Domb, M.D., Founder, Medical Director & Orthopedic Surgeon at American Hip Institute & Orthopedic Specialists, is on a mission to cure hip pain by pioneering the most advanced, comprehensive and non-invasive medical solutions. Based in Chicago, AHI offers a range of cutting-edge techniques in Hip Arthroscopy, Robotics, Resurfacing, and Regenerative Medicine. For more information or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Domb at American Hip Institute & Orthopedic Specialists, visit: www.americanhipinstitute.com.