This is part 2 of the “Core Series”. Click here to read part one.
You have noticed that your child has reduced core strength… now you want to know how to help them.
If this is having a significant impact on your child’s day to day function I would strongly recommend seeing a health professional (GP, OT, Physiotherapist etc).
If you feel your child just needs a bit of a booster than you have come to the right place! The most helpful thing you can teach your child to help improve their core stability is… (brace yourselves.. take a deep breath)…
That was it..! You did it! DEEP DIAPHRAGMATIC BREATHING!
Maintaining a deep breath pattern whilst completing core exercises is important as your child may otherwise hold their breath to stabilise themselves, and not activate the crucial core muscles we want working hard.
But why does this happen..?
If we go back to our anatomy, the diaphragm sits at the bottom of our rib cage. When it (and other assisting muscles) contract, air pressure changes mean we allow air to enter our lungs. The opposite then happens when we breathe out and relax our diaphragm.
The diaphragm therefore creates the top of the core, “cavity”. Some compare it to a lid on a box. The stronger the lid, the more stable the “core”. If we are not activating our diaphragm our core “lid” is like a piece of tissue. When we activate it- we now have some seriously sturdy cardboard.
How do I teach this to my child?
Ask your child to lie on their stomach, head in their hands. Ask them to take a big breath in through the nose and see if they can imagine they have a balloon in their stomach. As they breathe in ask them to pretend that balloon is getting larger and larger, and pushing down onto the floor ! Ask them to hold the breath for a second or two, then release slowly out through the nose.
The more activation your child achieves, the more sturdy we make our diaphragm ‘box’, the stronger our core gets.
Don’t get me started on all the other benefits of teaching kids deep breathing.. It lowers the stress chemical cortisol (oh no I started!), assists with self-regulation, pain management..
It is a win-win. So get breathing guys!