Children’s physiotherapists love to talk about core strengthening. Whether it is in relation to a baby or toddler with developmental delay, a child with low muscle tone, frequent falling, or delay in jumping and hopping, you will often hear physios suggesting exercises and games to address core strength.
Make it exciting!
The surprising thing is that abdominal and core strengthening does not have to be boring gym work. There are so many exciting ways we can activate core muscles while playing and having fun.
- Walking on uneven surfaces: Try sand, grass, wood chips, cushions, or blankets on the floor, maybe even a wobbly bridge in the playground.
- Balancing: Steppingstones, balance beams and obstacle courses, get those abdominal muscles activated without even realising.
- Steep Slopes: Walking up and down steep slopes or ramps can improve strength, postural control, and balance.
- Climbing: As parents we spend hours discouraging climbing, but in a controlled environment there are just so many options and benefits. It could be climbing stairs, soft play equipment, onto and off the couch or over large cushions, even along ladders and more challenging play equipment. Climbing is great for gluteal and upper and lower strength and coordination, trunk activation and strengthening the tiny muscles of the hands and feet.
- Vertical wall play: Try paining on an easel, drawing on a chalk board, shaving cream on a mirror to draw or create rainbows. To make it even trickier you could place a cushion underneath their feet to get a serious trunk and shoulder workout.
- Jumping, jumping, jumping: On a trampoline, from a low height, on the spot, over an object on the ground.
- Stepping over: Stepping over high works wonders. Try also stepping into and out of boxes, elastics, pool noodles, make a pretend hurdles course.
There are many more fun and exciting ways to activate and strengthen core muscles. It is always important to seek advice from your physiotherapist before embarking on or progressing your child’s exercise program.
Getting additional support
There are many more fun and exciting ways to activate and strengthen core muscles. It is always important to seek advice from your physiotherapist before embarking on or progressing your child’s exercise program. If you are concerned about your child’ core strength, talk to your child’s physiotherapist to ask how they can assist your child. The team at Bridges for Learning can also offer support to develop core strength and the development of gross motor skills.