The Mingara Regional Athletics Centre hosts thousands of local school children throughout the annual school Athletics Carnival season. We love sharing this wonderful tradition with our local schools and community.
In the lead-up to hosting the carnivals, we thought it would be beneficial for parents and students to look at some stretches for kids and the benefits of stretching.

Why is learning to stretch so important?

We all know that stretching before physical activity and the benefits of stretching are very important. But why is it so important? How do we do it?
The energetic kids from the One GromFit program at Mingara One Fitness can show you some simple, yet effective, ways to stretch your body before your athletics carnival.

What is a dynamic stretch?

Dynamic stretching is the most effective way to stretch and warm up before activity.
Dynamic stretching is movement-based. It is when we actively move our joints and muscles. By doing this, we can target the specific muscle groups for power, flexibility and better range of motion. All of these will assist our children’s performance.

What are the benefits of stretching?

* When we stretch we increase body heat and blood flow that will help to loosen our muscles and tendons.
* Stretching will reduce risk of injury.
* Stretching will increase performance.
* Kids are less likely to get sore muscles after the carnival.

How to do five basic dynamic stretches for kids.

High knees

Perform a typical running motion on the spot but exaggerate the knee lifts. You can hold your hands to hover over the top and have a goal of touching knee to hand on each repetition. High knees will increase heart rate and body temperature. The perfect stretch for before a running event.

Leg swing

These are great for a variety of muscles in your lower body. This simple, dynamic stretch will stretch your inner and outer thigh muscles, hips, hamstrings, calves and quads. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and then swing one leg forward and back. Try to keep the movement controlled and ensure the weight is on your supporting leg. Switch legs. This can be done with a friend, by holding their shoulder and you both swinging alternate legs.

Arm circles

A great stretch to do before any throwing event (shot put/ discus), it will warm up your shoulders, arms as well as your chest and upper back.
Stand up straight and stretch your arms out horizontally, then cross your arms at the front and continue to bring them back and forth. This stretch can also be done vertically.

Lateral Jumps

A perfect dynamic stretch for jumping events (long jump/high jump). Stand with your legs and feet together and jump from side to side. You can use your arms for momentum. Ensure you bend your knees to help support your joints.

Star Twist

This stretch will help to awaken your posterior chain and is useful for all events as it’s a whole body stretch. Stand with legs wide apart and arms up in the air (shaped like a star) then take your arms one at a time and reach for your toes.

Our biggest tip for the Athletics Carnival (apart from stretching of course) is to HAVE FUN!

Are you in training for your Athletics Carnival or do you just love to stay active? Come and check out One GromFit at Mingara One Fitness. You will love the great group of Groms who come in, keep active and have a load of laughs.

Enjoy Carnival season!