When children – especially at the preschool age – first step foot into a gymnastics facility, they are usually blinded by all the colors, fun-looking equipment and possibilities of endless fun! They get tunnel vision and the only thing on their minds is jumping on the trampoline or swinging from the bars. Preschool gymnastics is a wonderful way to harness your child’s energy in a productive way. But it is important for children to participate in the warm-up before anything else.
Warming up increases blood flow, allowing for the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles. This will prepare your child for the work out ahead and prevent him or her from becoming out of breath. It will also prepare his or her heart for increased activity and prevent a rapid increase in blood pressure. Warm-ups prevent soft tissue injury, as well, by allowing joints and muscles to operate with a greater range of motion. By warming up, joints become lubricated and blood temperature increases, which allow for easier movement and longer, more vigorous workouts.
When children take time away from the gym, it is important that they do not try to jump right back into the swing of things. Muscles take time to recoup strength after a long period of rest. In sports such as gymnastics, any breaks longer than about a week will require an extended warm-up period and the retraining of muscles.
Abrupt action such as running or jumping may be confusing to the muscles, and to the brain, if such activities have not been performed recently and regularly. Practicing certain movements will help to train your child’s muscles and brain in order to operate at full capacity.