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Teaching kids the importance of stretching

Do you remember when you were in youth sports and it was time to warm up and stretch? Oftentimes, youth athletes don't put much effort into stretching. Kids are inherently more flexible than adults, but if kids spent more time focusing on lengthening the muscles before and after strengthening them, that may not be the case.

Why stretch?
Stretching prevents injuries and helps the muscles to recover quickly. Additionally, it can help to improve posture and ensure joints are able to move in a full range of motion. As we age, our muscles get shorter, which makes them more prone to straining and causes all those aches and pains that begin to develop over time.

How to stretch
It might sound silly, but there is a proper way to stretch. Dynamic action, meaning slow movements, is best to warm up the muscles while lengthening them. Arm circles and leg swings are great because they work both the muscles and the joints. Another key to proper stretching is supporting the muscle that is being lengthened by strengthening the rest of the body. For example, a safe hamstring stretch requires you to tighten the quads, which releases the muscles in the back of the leg.

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