Ready, Set, Stretch Challenge
“ I stretch before every sport I played as a kid and every practice and game I have now. It makes me play better and helps prevent injuries. Andrew Luck #12 ”
Active stretching gets your body moving while loosening and strengthening it at the same time. Each of the routines below will give you a great start to begin every activity.
Do not attempt the exercises if an injury or limitation prevents you from completing them safely. Participate to the best of your ability to complete the challenge.
Lower body focus.
Forward Leg Swing: Stand in place or place one hand on a wall or table. Alternating from one leg to the other, bend your knee back and then kick your leg forward until it extends comfortably in front of you. Try not to over extend your kicks and make sure to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth as you perform the stretch.
Forward Lunge with Torso Twist: Lunge forward until your front leg is at a 90-degree angle. Once you’re at 90 degrees, turn your torso toward your front leg. Alternate right leg then left leg in one continuous motion until tired. Make sure to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth as you perform the stretch.
3 to 5 minutes of both exercises before any activity.
5 to 8 minutes of both. Use a medicine ball or free weight for lunging torso twist to increase difficulty.
Upper body focus.
Full Back Stretch: Lie flat on the floor, grab both your knees and slowly pull them toward your chest. Keep your neck and shoulders relaxed. Pull until you feel a stretch in your back and then release your legs. Make sure to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth as you perform the stretch.
Arm Swings: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart with both arms straight out to your sides like wings. In one fluid motion, swing your arms in front of your chest until they cross and then bring them back to the extended position. Make sure to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth as you perform the stretch.
3 to 5 minutes of the full back stretch and arm swings before any activity.
5 to 8 minutes of both.
Full body focus.
String all the exercises together to create a routine: Forward leg swing, then arm swings, then lunges, then full back stretch. Make sure to breathe as you perform each stretch.
Spend 5 to 7 minutes doing each dynamic stretch two times through. Alternate from lower body to upper body stretches as you go.
Spend 8 to 10 minutes doing each dynamic stretch about 3 times through. Alternate from lower body to upper body stretches as you go.
Full body focus.
Push yourself a little more. Spend a couple of extra minutes going through the routine. Focus on your form and always make sure to rest for a minute before repeating all four stretches. And make sure to breathe as you perform each stretch.
9-12 year olds
Spend 8 to 10 minutes going through the routine, repeat 3 times.
Spend 10 to 12 minutes going through each routine, repeat 4 times.
Have your kids stick to these guidelines for the week and they’ll pass the “Fuel Up” part of this week’s challenge.
- Drink water before, during and after exercise
- Fuel up with carbohydrates such as whole grain bread or fruit before a workout
- Exercising on an empty stomach; bodies need fuel
- Loading up on sports drinks or sugary drinks before a workout
Just as warming up gives muscles a powerful dose of oxygen and nutrients, this high-powered snack will give your kids the energy to get through any exercise. Have them eat this 45 minutes to an hour before their workout.
1 slice of whole grain toast
Peanut or almond butter
1. Toast a slice of whole grain bread or bagel.
2. Smear with peanut or almond butter.
3. Top with banana slices and sprinkle with cinnamon.
“ Good nutrition directly impacts my ability to compete. I make sure I fuel up with healthy food every day. Andrew Luck #12 ”
Why It Matters
Flexibility is not only critical in the prevention of injury, it’s key to building strength for a growing child’s body. See what our expert doctor has to say about stretching.
"Active kids are stronger and healthier when they take the time to stretch before a workout. It not only prepares the body for more strenuous activity, it boosts the performance of muscles. Plus, stretching is key to injury prevention and so much more."
The Benefits of Stretching
- Increases heart and respiratory rate
- Boosts the number of nutrients and oxygen delivered to muscles
- Prepares body for the day or any activity
- Makes it easier to burn calories
- Helps extend workout and performance
- Shields against injuries
The expert Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health team is here for:
- Pulled muscles, bone or joint pain
- Continued issues with balance or strength
- Rehabilitation of any injury
- Developmental issues
- Ongoing fatigue or uncommon illness
Ready, Set, Stretch Challenge Check-Off
GREAT JOB! You’ve completed this week’s challenge. We hope you had fun and learned a thing or two. Keep it up. Please make sure to return next week.Sign in to complete challenge!