Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Back on the Road Again

I am glad to say hello again!  Thank you for all the well wishes!  I am on the road to a full recovery after my recent neck surgery.  Wow - it is amazing what the neck does and how it affects the rest of the body!!

Did you know that an adult human head ways about 10 pounds?

No wonder our necks and backs get sore!  That's a lot of weight to carry on our thin necks! 

Now think about children writing at their desks all day.  No wonder you see so many of them with their heads down or slouched.  Did you ever say to a child "sit up straight?"  I know I have.  But I never thought about how tired their backs and necks might be.

Some exercises to strengthen those back and neck muscles:
  1. Wall Push-ups - similar to regular push-ups but do it standing leaning against a wall.  Most young kids don't have the strength for regular push-ups, and  it is important not to practice poor technique or form.
  2. Plank- Have your students hold their bodies in "push-up" position on the floor and hold it for ten seconds.  Make sure their ears stay over their shoulders and their heads don't drop down.   Their backs should be nice and straight.
  3. Rows- Sing  the "row, row, row your boat" song while sitting on the floor or in chairs.  Row your arms in circles with a nice straight back.  Go forward, go backward, do alternating arms.
These three easy activities will strengthen the students/children's arms, backs and chests and will enable them to sit without their heavy heads toppling to their desks.  And make sure they get a break because muscles can't work when they are tired.  A runner can't run 24/7 and children and adults can't sit all day.  Muscles work better when they are rested.  This doesn't mean lie down and snooze but get up and work different muscles.

Try a new way of sitting:
  1. Wall Squats - have the children lean against the wall and slowly slide down until their legs are at 90 degree angles.  See how long they can hold themselves in this position.  What a leg workout!  Those legs need some activation so they don't get to sleepy sitting!
  2. Back to Back Standing - Have two children sit back to back on the floor.  Ask them to press their backs together and stand.  They really have to engage those leg and stomach muscles.
Teachers, parents and dance educators - try these exercises and see if it brings new life to your students/ children's ability to sit and stand with their heads held high.

Have fun strengthening the muscles that support your neck with the children in your life!


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