Posture- the position in which someone holds their body when sitting or standing. Why is it important to have “good posture”?
Our muscle and bones have been created to allow certain movements to happen. When our body is equally strong on the front and back of our body it moves happily. When our body is equally flexible from the left to the right our body it has the best opportunity to move freely, be pain-free and do what we ask of it at any time. The more time your body spends in a position of “good posture” the more it remembers these positions and the happier and healthier our body will be long term. Look at adults who were dancers or gymnasts as kids. They generally still have adequate flexibility and strength. (I’ll never forget meeting a new client who was out of shape, had not exercised in years and could kick up and hold a handstand!!) Therefore, when our body has bad posture we don’t move freely and happily. Injuries and pain often join the party and this is never fun.
What does bad posture look like?
Life happens in front of us and our kids. Holding phones, playing video games, reading, writing and eating just to name a few. Therefore, shoulders tend to roll forward. In combination, our kids are sitting during most of these activities. This causes the muscles in the front of the hip to tighten causing the hip bone to tilt. This then causes the lower back to arch. Then, to top it off the head falls forward to compensate for the spine moving due to the other positions.
So what’s so bad about these positions?
Three major areas of concern from these positions are muscles, bones and psychological.
When muscles become tight it restricts movement. This is not only uncomfortable for your child, the risk of injury increases significantly. If a muscle gets pulled in a direction it cannot do due to lack of flexibility it may cause a serious tear in the muscle.
Spine wear and tear happens as we all get older BUT the spine has the best chance of long term health when it is in the position it is designed to be in. Overarching can lead to severe problems from early adulthood due to the unnecessary position the spine is in.
Nobody likes headaches, tight muscles or pain of any kind. This can lead to behaviour issues and simply, an unhappy child. Children are naturally happy, optimistic so if they aren’t being their best maybe they are uncomfortable?
So, what is this one fantastic activity that can help balance out life’s activities and help improve your little ones chances of having good posture?…. Monkey Bars!
How does monkey bars help your child’s posture I hear you ask. Well, let’s take a deeper look.
When your little monkey is hanging the spine decompresses (doesn’t that just sound nice?) When your monkey then swings to the next bar they are engaging the muscles of the upper and side of the back. These are the opposite to the “life activity” muscles. Then if your monkey simply wants to hang (with a straight body) the front of the hips get a stretch, which is perfect to balance out all of that sitting. Hanging will also stretch the front of shoulders. Building upper back strength is critical to help get the shoulders in the correct position and monkey bars are a great way to do so.
If you child doesn’t have the strength of confidence to do the monkey bars then read HERE to see why they may not be able to and what you can do to help them achieve the monkey bars.
After all, it is going to help their posture in the long run and that is so important. Now it’s time to head down to the park and get swinging.