Learning and development through participation in sport is essential for children’s optimal health! With any activity, preventing injury should always be a priority.
You can help to reduce the risk of a serious sporting injury by warming up before exercise and taking time to cool down after your activity. A warm up should consist of some gentle aerobic activity (such as jogging), to gradually increasing blood flow warming up your muscles (5-15 minutes), gradually increasing in intensity as they begin to have a slight sweat. Then, ONLY when muscles are warm should they stretch- helping to promote blood flow to muscles, increase flexibility & reduce the chance of getting a new injury or re-aggravating an old one. Involve all the muscle groups they will be using in their activity.
A gentle cool-down is essential to prevent muscle stiffness & soreness. This helps remove waste products such as lactic acid from muscles, replacing them with fresh nutrients & oxygen. This should be a few minutes of low intensity movement, followed by stretching.
Coaches, teachers, parents and children; you should always seek professional advice for individual sport-specific stretches and exercises to optimise sporting performance and fun!