In my experience, many times people hear the phrases “core stability” or “core strength” and think as physical therapists we are talking about having “abs of steel,” but that is not the case.
Our core muscles are the foundation muscles that allow movement to occur.
Your "core" is made up of muscles located in the back, front, and sides-starting from your neck down to your hips. If these muscles are not strong, arm movements and fine motor skills as well as leg movements and gross motor skills will be a lot harder.
These muscles start to develop very early on and are the foundation we build upon. For instance, it is very important for babies to do tummy time throughout the day. At first, they can only handle a few seconds but we keep working on building up their strength, and we can progress to minutes. As they get stronger and start developing these muscles, they will start lifting their head up and pushing through extended hands.
Now, think about what your older children may be doing all day-sitting. They receive less and less play or recess time; additionally, the amount of screen time has certainly increased.
More and more, we are seeing children with weak core muscles. These children do not have the endurance to be able to sit up properly or sit still. This can contribute to their ability to learn and can present through learning difficulties, not necessarily just on the playground. Of course, this weakness also affects gross motor skills and a child's ability to navigate their environment at school, home, and the playground.
So how can you help strengthen your kids core?
Use of an exercise ball for sitting or core work - more on this to come!
Animal walks -Penguin, bear, frog, crab
Wheelbarrow walking or racing
Climbing. Climbing anywhere-at an indoor or outdoor climbing wall, on the playground, up a ladder, climbing/crawling up the stairs
Hopscotch. Change it up by jumping forward, backward or sideways - all directions will engage your child's core
Twister. Who doesn’t like this game? Kids will never realize they are working on core strength!
Call a PT. We have so many more ideas of ways to help your child build their core strength and are excited to meet your family!
If you have any concerns or questions, feel free to give us a call at 253.237.3405 for a free discovery visit!