Core strength is the development of the torso muscles that stabilize, align, and move the trunk of the body. Poor core strength can cause poor posture which can also affect gross motor and fine motor skills. Building strong core strength is like building a strong foundation for your child.
Core strength development starts as an infant. Ever wonder why “tummy time” is so important? When an infant has an opportunity to lie on his tummy, he learns to lift his head which helps to strengthen the neck and upper back muscles. This will help the infant to begin supporting the weight of his own head and to be able to look around in response to sounds. It will also prepare the infant for such developmental milestones such as crawling, rolling over, and sitting up independently.
For elementary school aged children, the best way to develop core strength is through good old fashioned outdoor play! Children need daily opportunities to run, jump, climb, crawl and explore in an unstructured environment.
Children with poor core strength will tend to slump with shoulders rolled forward while seated, they have poor endurance, and they may exhibit poor balance just to name a few things.
There are ways to help your child exercise to strengthen his core muscles. But first of all, make the exercise fun and think of a creative name to call it other than exercise. Please be sure to start your child out slowly with new activities and give moderate breaks. If your child feels fatigued and frustrated, he will likely not feel motivated to do any more exercises. Building your child’s core strength may take a while so pace the activities. Be consistent and diligent to stick with any program you begin; offer your child support and encouragement.
Listed below are just a few exercises/activities for core strength:
- The Wheelbarrow
- Bouncing – Such as Hippity Hops or a trampoline
- Exercise ball
- Swivel ride on toys (with no pedals)
- Swinging – without anyone pushing
- Superman Pose – lying on stomach and lifting arms and legs
- Sit ups
- Lounge & Twist
- Twister – the game
- Crawling through a tunnel
- Climbing a ladder – such as for a slide
- Riding a bike
When beginning core strengthening exercise/activities, start with just a few at time; find some that your child loves to engage in. As time progresses, you should see your child starting to develop self confidence and endurance. At this point, you can begin adding new exercises/activities.
I’ll leave you with words of inspiration:
“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” -Theodore Roosevelt