Let’sTalk about the Core!
What is core strength? No…we don’t have cores like an apple, but we do have a muscular core that helps support and stabilize us during activities. Our core is composed of abdominal and back musculature, and acts as the body’s center of gravity. These muscles keep us stable and balanced and help us with activities from running to picking up toys.
Why is having a strong core important?
– Helps in the development of gross motor skills (rolling and sitting upright, learning to walk, balancing, etc.)
– Improves sports performance
– Improves overall functional abilities
– Reduces risk of injury and lower back pain
– Allows for upright posture sitting at a desk in school
Core Strengthening Activities:
Lay flat on your back on a mat, or the floor, and lift just your bottom up off the floor. Mom or dad should then pass a ball/toy/car under your child’s legs (“the bridge”), and count to see how many times you can pass the ball/toy/car under your child before the bridge falls.
While laying on the floor on your back, hug your knees with your arms and bring your chin towards your knees and try to give 5 kisses to your knees.
– Tummy scooter boarding-
Lay on your stomach, pull self forward with arms while on a scooter board. Try not to use your legs or toes! Find another scooter board and race your friends to the finish line!
– Wheelbarrow walking-
Hold your child’s legs as they try to walk forward on their hands. Over time, see if they can go further as they get stronger.
Place hands on the ground and try to keep back in a straight line (not allowing bottom to go up towards the sky, or the tummy to dip towards the ground). Hold for as long as you can, try to beat your score next time!
– Down dog-
Place hands and feet down on the floor then hike pelvis up towards the ceiling. Try to get heels down to the floor during the pose.
How to Make Core Exercise Fun:
– Count the duration together and come up with a goal number to achieve (start at 5-10 seconds, progress to 20 seconds)
– Progress the duration number as the child becomes stronger
The therapists at PTC love a good core activity! If you have any questions about how to perform an activity or would like some different ideas, please don’t hesitate to ask your child’s PT or OT for more info!
Blog Written By:
Katie Collin, PT, DPT
Katie Collin attended Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science and her clinical Doctorate in Physical Therapy. Katie has experience working with children birth to 21 years of age with various diagnoses including Down syndrome, spina bifida, cerebral palsy, torticollis, autism spectrum disorders, developmental delay, and toe walking. She has received clinical training in therapeutic interventions for toe walking, developing strengthening programs for children with special needs, and implementation of the Lite Gait. Katie has a passion for figure skating and has combined this with her love for working with children with disabilities. She, and another skating coach, authored and developed the successful United We Sk8 event in 2011 and 2012 allowing children with disabilities to learn how to skate. Katie’s goal is to continue this event and to develop a weekly skating class for children with special needs. In her spare time she enjoys using ideas from Pinterest to develop challenging activities for kids at PTC. Katie’s determination and passion for learning helps push her to be the best therapist she can be. Katie is a big kid at heart and loves coming to her job everyday.