Why is Core Strength Important in Normal Gait?
Core strength is important in everything you do.
From sitting still to standing and walking, running and jumping.
A strong core creates a stable base from which we move our legs, arms and head.
What are the Core Muscles and Where are they?
Weak back and abdominal muscles directly effect hip rotation which in turn effects strength and flexibility of the leg muscles, which often leads to overpronation of the feet.
Overpronation creates fatigue.
Why is Core Strength Important in Children?
If a child has poor core strength, they will have difficulty mastering not only gross motor skills, but fine motor skills as well.
A child with a weak core will have difficulty hitting and catching balls.
They will have difficulty sitting still in class, and in turn mastering fine motor skills such as holding a pencil and learning to write.
Core strength helps decrease the risk of injuries for children playing sport, and helps prevent overall injuries related to poor posture.
Exercises and Games to Improve Core Strength in Children
Bridging is a fantastic exercise to begin core strengthening with children. (Refer to Figure 2).
You can make it fun by zooming cars or rolling balls under the “bridge”. Hold the bridge for 30 seconds and repeat 5 times.
Figure 2: Bridging
No. 2 Superman
The Superman is a great exercise for lower back strengthening and gentle abdominal stretching (and who doesn’t want to be superman). (Refer to figure 3).
Figure 3: Superman
No. 3 Crab Soccer
Crab soccer also helps with co ordination as well as core strength and can be fun if there is more than one child or mum/dad wants to get involved too. (Refer to Figure 4).
Figure 4: Crab Soccer
No. 4 Wheelbarrows
Wheelbarrows are more advanced requiring upper body strength as well – great for core and co ordination. (Refer to Figure 5).
Figure 5: Wheelbarrow
Other great exercises and games are tightrope walking, tug of war, also why not use your local park for swings and climbing.
Most children don’t like to do “exercises” with a drill sergeant.
So rather turn these exercises into ‘games’ or a race between two or more children, or even a competition between mum or dad and your child.
Encourage these fun games for 5-10 minute sessions 3 times a week.
Article by Erica Dash
Erica started Erica Dash Podiatry in 1993 due to the need of a family friendly podiatry business on the Central Coast, NSW.
Erica is focus driven with a great interest in children and biomechanics.
She also welcomes patients of any age into her (state of the art) practice with an emphasis on family footcare.