While most children like to hit the ground running when it comes to exercising, the importance of warm-ups and cool-downs is immense. No matter the age of your child, injury prevention is an essential part of any workout. A large component to injury-prevention is your pre- and post- workout routine.
“Warm-ups benefit your child because they prepare the muscles for exercise,” notes Lexie, Athletic Trainer and Physical Therapy Assistant with 321Go.
The warm-up can include dynamic stretches and slow exercise. Adding slow exercises will increase the stretching of the skeletal muscles and allow a slow increase in heart rate to minimize stress on cardiac muscles.
Cool-downs are going to basically be the opposite of warm-ups. Having your child perform cool-down exercises will allow their body to wind down into a more restful state.
“Cooling down the muscles and slowly decreasing the heart rate will minimize stress on cardiac muscles, too,” shared Lexie.
Both dynamic stretches and slower exercises can be used in both warm-up and cool-downs. Examples are lunges, toe-walking, skipping, and knee-to-chest walking. In your child’s warm-up have them add in cardio, such as jumping jacks or slow jogging to begin increasing the heart rate. At the end of your child’s workout, don’t have them perform as much cardio as the goal is to slow the heart rate down.
The primary purpose of warming up and cooling down is to prevent injury. If your child does ever experience an injury, contact 321Go Kids for an appointment.