We Can! Challenges Weeks 6 and 7: Flexibility, continuing habits important to a healthy lifestyle
October 25, 2012
Flexibility is a commonly overlooked part of your child’s fitness and health. While speed, strength and endurance can be more easily shown or practiced flexibility is a little less obvious.
One common misunderstanding when flexibility is discussed is the idea that a student must be able to do the splits or some extreme move to show they are flexible. For most kids, being able to stretch properly without poor form and to move their bodies with a full range of motion is a sign of being flexible and of being in good health.
Lacking flexibility has some major drawbacks that should be avoided. People with a lack of flexibility are more likely to be injured during activities and falls. In addition, a lack of flexibility could affect form in sports like golf where proper range of motion is needed for a good swing.
Exercise physiologists believe that one of the best times to stretch is at the end of activity when the muscles are warmed up. This also gets the muscles just as they begin to tighten up which may also help with soreness. Many groups have actually found that stretching prior to activity, specifically activity that requires bursts of power can actually reduce power output, and that a dynamic warm-up is much more beneficial at the beginning. So try to stretch at the end of activity when doing activities requiring power.
In the end, stretching is one of the five components of health related fitness and needs to be treated with the same level of importance as the others. Flexible activities include yoga, gymnastics, pilates, martial arts and rock climbing.
Next week is the final week of the challenge. The students will be asked to practice all of their habits and to be healthy. These healthy habits should not stop after the program concludes. While most kids will pick and choose which habits they will continue and which ones they may not be prepared for, each habit is a step in the right direction.
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Parents, it is now up to you to help your kids make these habits a part of their lives.
1. Drink Water daily
2. Exercise 30-60 minutes per day
3. Two hours or less of TV/video games
4. Eat five servings of fruits and veggies
5. Avoid sugary drinks and soda.
6. Stretch 5-10 minutes per day.
7. Practice healthy habits
The We Can! Program thanks the following sponsors and program supporters: Barton Community Advisory Committee, Barton Public Relations, Barton Pediatrics, Lake Tahoe Unified School District, Zephyr Cove Elementary, El Dorado County Public Health, City of South Lake Tahoe community services, LTUSD PE staff, Nurse Margaret Mckean, Leanne Wagner and Monica Scuito. Additional Prizes were supplied with help by Kmart, US Ski and Snowboard team, Reno Aces and the Oakland Raiders.