young kids stretching

Importance of Stretching for Young Athletes

Many coaches incorporate stretching into their practices and games. Yet, many young athletes don’t quite understand how important stretching is. They might rush through their stretches or use the time to catch up with their friends. Off the field, they might forget all about stretching, which means they’re only doing it when a coach is in front of them.

However, it’s essential for your young athlete to also practice at home to improve their performance, prevent future injuries, and recover quickly so they’re ready for the next day.

As a parent, you want to set your child up for success with their athletic endeavors. Understanding why stretching is important can help you talk to your child about it and ensure they are practicing it frequently.

Here are some guidelines about how young athletes should stretch to get the maximum benefits.

When to stretch

Athletes should stretch before and after undergoing a strenuous workout. They should do some sort of dynamic warm-up first, such as walking, jogging, doing jumping jacks, or marching in place to get their body warmed up. Then, they can focus on static stretches that target the muscle groups they will be working on during their workout. When the activity is over, they should cool down with some static stretches that target the muscle groups they just worked.

Athletes can also benefit from stretching at night to loosen up their muscles, especially if they did an intense workout earlier in the day. In addition, nighttime stretching can help young minds calm down, making it easier for them to fall asleep and helping them stay asleep all night long.

How often to stretch

At the very least, athletes should stretch before and after each workout to help their bodies flush out any harmful waste that may have built up in their muscles. As long as they are not feeling any pain, stretching more frequently should not pose a problem for most athletes and can benefit them in several ways.

Who should avoid stretching

Talk to your child’s doctor if they are experiencing pain, inflammation, or swelling, as these can be signs of an injury that could be made worse from stretching.

Stretching as recovery

Kids might feel too tired after a game or practice to stretch, but they should view it as a vital part of the recovery process. Stretching after a challenging workout can increase blood flow and help your athlete feel less sore the next day.

Need Help Stretching? StretchSpot Can Help!

We love working with young athletes to help them stretch better to maximize their athletic performance. At StretchSpot, we help athletes in all kinds of sports, including soccer, basketball, baseball, tennis, swimming, and more.

Our sessions are as short as 20 minutes and can make a significant difference in your child’s athletic performance. If you’re a parent of young athletes in the South Bay area, we’d love to hear from you! You can learn more about the StretchSpot on our website, or schedule an appointment for your child.

woman relaxing in a chair

5 Ways to Make Sundays Less Stressful

Some people call it the “Sunday Scaries.” Others just think of it as anxiety at the end of a weekend.

As the weekend comes to a close, you start thinking about the work waiting for you on the other side. Your kids and teens might be feeling the stress, too, as they think about upcoming exams, homework assignments, and sports practices.

While we can’t get rid of Mondays for you, we can help you identify some ways to make Sundays less stressful and more relaxing.

5 Moves to Gently Start Your Week

Worrying about the future isn’t going to stop Monday from arriving. Instead of stressing, try these five tactics to ease into your week.

1. Stick to a consistent sleep schedule

A lot of us look at the weekends as a chance to stay up late and sleep in. But throwing your sleep schedule out of whack can make Sunday a lot more stressful. When you don’t get enough sleep on Saturday night, you can feel more anxious and tired on Sunday. This makes you feel more stressed, especially late in the day. Try to shift your bedtime and wake-up time by no more than 30 minutes on weekends to see if it makes a difference.

2. Practice gentle stretches

Resist the urge to take Sunday off entirely by bingeing your favorite TV show on the couch for 10 hours straight. Instead, make sure you’re getting at least some movement in. Stretching is an excellent way to increase blood flow and relax your mind without doing an intense workout. Stretch before bed on Sunday to help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep through the night.

3. Plan ahead

If you get anxious on Sunday because you don’t know what’s in store for you Monday morning, you could benefit from planning. Spending just 30 minutes on Sunday preparing for the week could help you feel calmer about what’s in store. Even better? Plan your week on Friday before logging off for the weekend so you can enjoy your Sunday without worrying.

4. Schedule something fun on Monday

If you dread Mondays, schedule something fun and inviting during it. For example, go out to lunch with friends on Monday, or treat yourself to take out after work. Giving yourself something to look forward to can change your outlook when your alarm goes off Monday morning.

5. See what you can offload

Taking control of your schedule can help you and your family get more enjoyment out of your precious weekends. For example, if you get stressed because your Sundays are taken up with grocery shopping and cleaning, maybe it’s worth paying for grocery delivery or a cleaning service. Likewise, if the idea of running the kids all over town has you in a cold sweat, talk to other parents to see if you can arrange a carpool.

We’re Here for You!

Moving regularly can help you feel better inside and out. Whether you’re an athlete, a nine-to-fiver, or a weekend warrior, stretching services from StretchSPOT can help you move freely as you transition from the weekend to the workweek. Book an appointment to get started!