The “Superman” pose builds core strength!
We all get plenty of reminders to strive for a healthy lifestyle, especially so that our children develop well: good nutrition, good sleep habits and plenty of exercise. But where do we begin and how do we help our children become physically strong and coordinated and have the ability for attention and focus?
Core strength is vital for complex movement and stamina
Strong muscles in the torso – core strength – that align and stabilize the body are vital for a child’s development in complex physical movement and in mental stamina.
Training in core strength also creates energy to concentrate on demanding mental tasks. The brain chemistry that occurs from physical activity has so many positive benefits for the mind, the body and emotional well being.
The more that children practice upper and lower body coordination and balancing skills as they grow, the more they will develop the fine and gross motor skills they need for all of their daily activities and learning challenges.
3 core strength activities
Here are three fun and challenging moves that you can do with your children that will build core strength, improve upper and lower extremity motor control and support visual and spatial focus.
This is also a traditional yoga pose. Calling it “Superman” is a fun way to add imaginative play and engage children in the challenge of holding the position for a few counts.
- Lie face down on your stomach with arms and legs extended. Keep your neck in a neutral position.
- Call out “Superman!” and pretend to fly like the superhero.
- Keeping the arms and legs straight (but not locked) and torso stationary, simultaneously lift your arms and legs up toward the ceiling. The back arches and arms and legs lift several inches off the floor.
- Hold for two to five seconds and lower back down to the resting position.
Most of us have done this activity at some point. It’s fun for siblings or friends to do with each other and for parents to do with younger children.
- One child kneels down and places hands on the floor in front of the body.
- Another child or a parent holds the legs and lifts while the “wheelbarrow” child presses the hands on the floor and walks forward using the arms.
- The child’s back should be straight. If it bows or bends into an inverted V it means that more support is needed. Simply hold the legs closer to the body, for example at the knees or at the thighs.
This might be the most difficult to do correctly, but it is worth the effort to strive to do well.
- Place your forearms on the floor or a mat with the elbows aligned below the shoulders, and arms parallel to the body at shoulder-width distance.
- Push toes into the floor and squeeze the backside muscles to move the body up.
- Look ahead to a spot on the floor beyond the hands.
- Hold the position for five to ten seconds and then come back down.
Do try these activities with your young children and encourage them to build their core strength. It will increase endurance, balance skills, reduce injuries and support brain development.
MoovKids is complete curriculum for physical education in the early years. I would be very happy to have a call with you to discuss your movement education needs. Whether it be curriculum goals, resources, equipment or just general class management, I will gladly assist however I can.
The MoovKids Movement & Milestones blog posts ideas, information and inspiration to keep children confident, coordinated and strong. You can also find us on facebook.