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04/Nov/2021

High Knees Exercise High knees are a great warm-up exercise, they can be used as a cardio burst between resistance training exercises or as part of a high-intensity interval training workout. What are the benefits of high knees? High Knees help to build the correct running technique while also building the strength of hip muscles and shortening leg leavers (making them move faster). High Knees are an excellent full-body movement to increase your heart rate and warm the muscles in both your upper and lower body.  Before you start While you do not need any special equipment to perform high knees, we find using hurdles makes the exercise more interesting and engaging. You can use running hurdles or even a pool noodle cut in half lengthwise and laid flat side down. To set up, lay the hurdles out in a straight line with just under a metre or a two-foot distance between them.   Getting started with High Knees:   Start by practicing lifting your knees high over the hurdles a few times in a row at walking speed. Keep your hips and tummy button pointing forward when lifting your knees up to step over the hurdle.  Tip: By placing your hands on your hips and keeping your elbows pointing to the side, can help to remind you not to twist your hips and tummy. When you are happy to advance to running. Start with knees soft and feet slightly apart, bend your elbows so that your hands are resting at hip level and your hands are pointing forward. Run over each hurdle changing legs each time. Start off slow, working on quality (how well you run over the hurdles) before trying to go faster. A great starting point is running 10 laps in a row.  You can make the High Knees exercise more challenging by using higher hurdles (beginner hurdles are 15 cm height, advanced is 30 cm in height). You can also increase your knee height, your lap pace, your exercise time length, or the number of laps to increase the impact and intensity.  To find more exercises to help improve your child’s running ability check out our Running Skills for Children book Or if you really want to improve your child’s running, sign up for our six-module running program.   

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04/Nov/2021

Running is not easy for all kids. Some find it “tiring” or “feel clumsy” when running. But like all things, when we become better at something we begin to enjoy it more. To improve your child’s enjoyment of running, here are some tips to help them improve their running form.

  •  Keep a tall running posture 

It’s important to maintain a tall posture, with their head held high and eyes looking forward. Have them lean forward through their body (but not bending forward at the hips). While running they should aim to keep their head and trunk still, with no side to side or twisting movement in their arms and legs. Have them try to limit their bouncing which will enable them to maintain an efficient running style for longer.  

  • Use your arms 

When running your arms provide you with rhythm, power and balance. When your child runs you want them to keep their elbows bent, with their arms moving backward and forward with their hands gliding past their hips. They should look to keep their shoulders relaxed throughout their running motion and avoid having their hands crossing their body at any point in the stride. 

  • Run heel to toe

To minimise injury we recommend a running style that lands on the ground with the heel, followed by a push off with the toes and the ball of the feet. This will change for sprinting as we tend to land and push off through the ball of the feet. To encourage heel land, shoes that have a good heel cushion are beneficial to help absorb the load of impact. 

Once your child has developed some good running form, it should be easier to begin to build their muscle strength, balance, coordination, breathing fitness (cardiovascular fitness), and power (strength with speed).

To find more starting exercises to safely improve your child’s running ability check out our Running Skills for Children book

Or if you really want to improve your child’s running, find out more about our six-module running program

 


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04/Nov/2021

Building balance is a significant component of child development and relies heavily on the growing internal balance centers (proprioception and vestibular center). Children need to learn to balance before they can progress to higher level gross motor skills like going up and down stairs, skipping or hopping. Having good balance is also important for building running strength as it prepares the leg in flight for landing, therefore enabling a better take-off again for the next step. 

Here are some walking balance exercises to build up your child’s movement balance. To support these exercises you can use anything from a fallen log, a balance beam, a wooden plank, a concrete edge at a playground, a skipping rope laid out, or chalk line drawn on the ground. With all balancing exercises, you want your child to be challenged to the point of almost falling to make the most improvements. 

Start by having your child practice walking forward along the line with a space between each foot. As their confidence and balance grow, begin to reduce the space between each placed heel and toe. 

Once mastered, try these additional exercises to progress and challenge their internal balance centers: 

  • Have your child turn their head slowly from side to side as they walk the line
  • Introduce catching a ball whilst they balance walk
  • Have them try walking along the line backward
  • Try placing toys or other objects like bean bags at a few points along the line. Have your child either reach down to pick them up or jump over them
  • Move super slow, imaging they are on the moon with no gravity

 

To find more exercises to help improve your child’s balance and running ability check out our Running Skills for Children book

Or if you really want to improve your child’s running, sign up for our six-module running program


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18/Mar/2016

Did you use to climb trees when you were a child? Space nets or spider webs are our new alternative for our kids. They teach our children so much about their bodies and help challenge and develop their thinking. Although I am not far away from my toddler when she’s exploring, I am all for encouraging her to use them. They provide the same benefits that we learnt from climbing trees in our back yard and are also free!

They help your child develop:
Motor planning which is the process of deciding the sequence of what they need to do and how they will do it 
Coordination which is the ability to turn on the right muscles at the right time to ensure smooth easy movement
Problem solving of how they will get from A to B and plan to over come obstacles
Total body strength, especially strengthening the muscles in their hands and feet from gripping and balancing
Balance to be able to stay on the net whilst testing the their limits 
Muscle endurance  to teach their muscles to work for longer
Concentration and focus on the same task till they have achieved what they set out to do 
Flexibility of muscles and joints by providing a good stretch when reaching, ducking and climbing …especially good after a day sitting at school or playing on their phones or Ipad.
Confidence & Fun

 

 

Check out Auckland for kids for a list of some great children parks and green spaces in Auckland.


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Our practice philosophy is to promote strength and development through play and exercise. We provide a holistic and comprehensive approach that is backed by clinical experience. We can create a tailored individual program to be implemented at home, childcare or school to help meet your child and family’s goals.

Copyright by Auckland Childrens Physio 2020. All rights reserved.