Healthy Happy Kids
The laugh of a happy child playing is infectious and a reminder of the carefree days of childhood. Bumps and bruises leave little impression as your child learns to walk, move about, explore and master their world.
The world is a playground that provides your child with much opportunity to learn through play. As a child runs about, throws, catches and kicks a ball, pulls themselves up on playground equipment, or swing and hang upside down, something good is happening.
Amidst their energetic and noisy play they are trying out and practicing new skills. This energetic play strengthens muscles in the upper body and lower body, develops balance and develops fine motor skills. In addition your child’s ability to use their senses is growing.
An environment that encourages exploration and physical development is important for children of all ages. Facing mild risks will build a feeling of competence as they are met and mastered and helps to develop muscle tone, mind body co-ordination and balance.
Sometimes play pushes the boundaries of safety and accidents or broken bones may result. Fortunately a child’s ability to mend bones and recover from accidents is generally very good.
After accidents or broken bones physio treatment helps support full recovery so there are no lingering after effects as your child grows.
Tips for Healthy Happy Kids
- Children grow best when given lots of time and space for energetic, noisy play.
- Kids develop upper body strength by rolling balls, throwing bean bags, pulling themselves up, hanging and swinging.
- Kids develop lower bodies by games that involve running, jumping and balancing.
- Kids develop fine-motor skills along with eye-hand co-ordination when using crayons, stringing beads and doing puzzles. This can be quite demanding and tiring so concentration is naturally shorter in younger children and becomes longer with age.
- Kids develop their five senses when they compare the way different objects look, sound, feel, or smell. As a child grows, it also helps to introduce them to new foods so they get use to a variety of tastes.
- Take sensible safety precautions without being overprotective.
- Get physio help after accidents or broken bones.
Healthy Walking Style
For some children as they develop walking may not be as easy as it is for others. Their walking style may appear clumsy or lacking co-ordination. This may be due to alignment issue of their feet, toes, knees and sometimes hips.
If you wonder about your child’s walking style or gait then a physio assessment will help to put your mind at rest and allow early intervention where it is needed. Make an appointment for a physio assessment when:
- You wonder about your child’s walking style or gait.
- Your child complains of pain when moving about or walking.
- Your child is unable to run about and engage in activities that other children of their age can do.
Droopy shoulders or a forward-tilted head is a common sign of poor posture. This causes the upper part of the neck to slightly protrude out ahead of the body. In turn this leads to increased arching at the low back region which can lead to foot imbalances often seen as Pigeon toed. This cycle can be quite uncomfortable for your child and have longer term consequences as they grow.
What could be the cause?
Here is a list of common causes of posture issue for children:
- Heavy backpacks which require a child to lean over while wearing the pack in order to maintain balance. This leads a child to lean forward and tilt their neck upwards to compensate and the posture can become habitual even when they’re not carrying a pack. When the neck is tilted upwards in this way it leads to chronic back pain.
- Poor posture when using electronic devices such as video games, computer games, laptops, cell phones or iPads. Often children spend a significant amount of time slouched over their devices as they lie on the couch, floor, or hunch over the kitchen table.
- Car seats and strollers that force the child’s pelvis into a position that is the opposite of what is desired leading to early slouching and shortening of the front muscles.
- Mattress support and sleeping position which impacts the way the shoulders and spine aligns.
- Body awareness – Children learn by copying what they see. If a parent has faulty posture, children often take on their parent’s physical stance.
- Prolonged sitting increases slouching and poor posture follows soon after.
- If your child or a child you know suffers from poor posture, don’t wait. The problem will only worsen over time and be more difficult to fix and it is painful to live with. Some timely intervention can make a real difference and quickly.
Tweens and Teens (10-19)
It can be such a delight to see our young ones grow and mature into their tween and teen years. The years between 10 to 19 years is a time of continued growth and increasing challenge. Growing pains may challenge the aspiring athletes especially during strong growth spurts. Although youthful resilience helps our sons and daughters overcome the bumps and scrapes on the playground and sports field, the body has its limits. Going too hard or overusing the young body can result in accidents and sports injuries such as ligament and muscle sprains.
For some youth physical activity becomes secondary to the lure of the computer screen, tablet or mobile and the online communities they belong too. Such tweens and teens are at risk of early posture related issues and under-use of their body may impact physical development over time. Upper body strength and posture can be further challenged as their school bags become heavier with the increased homework.
As the saying goes, a stitch in time saves nine. Here are some tips to help during the challenging times of growth.
- Monitor height during peak times of growth. Measure monthly against a wall to understand peak growth times. It is recommended not to engage in any weight training during these times to avoid growth plate irritation or damage which could result in slowing or stopping growth.
- As the bones start to lengthen, then muscles, nerves and other soft tissues will have to stretch to keep up. It is at this time when you may notice that gait becomes gangly and awkward and the teenager may appear uncoordinated. Don’t worry, this phase will pass. The soft tissue structures will need to be stretched regularly.
- Muscles that need to be stretched are the hamstrings, calf muscles, hip flexors, pectorals and thoracic spine just to name a few.
- The nerves will benefit from tensioning and flossing exercises. These are complicated and need to be done right, so it is best if a Physiotherapist can teach you these.
- Be careful when playing sport that you don’t over do it. Growth related injuries such as Sever’s disease and Osgood Schlatter disease are very common in this age group and result from overuse of growing bodies. These conditions benefit from activity modification, stretching, strengthening exercises and sound education and advice. These conditions can be managed and sport can be played during these conditions if the right advice is given and followed.
Young Adults (20-35 years)
Being a young adult offers so much more choice along with the limitations of the need to make a living. Weekends, after work sport and holidays are prime opportunities for being physically active in order to stay fit and healthy. Life can become very busy with the demands of work, family and your social life. Keeping active may become a juggling act.
Long periods of sitting at work with little daily exercise can lead to under use of your body, especially when your relaxation and chill time becomes sedentary too. This is the time of life where you may have your first episodes of low back pain if you have to sit for long periods or bend and lift at work. This is often the case for young adults who may have lost flexibility as a teenager. Posture related issues can become more chronic and repetitive strain injuries often become more apparent.
When on the sports field you are in your prime and the rough and tumble may result in sports injuries and impact injuries just when you least expect them. Fortunately your body has an amazing ability to heal and repair and with a little help and direction you will be back playing hard and enjoying life once again. This is when expert help can greatly reduce discomfort, speed up recovery and strengthen you for the future.
- work on flexibility, exercise such as yoga is excellent for regaining lost movement.
- Those with sedentary jobs would benefit from Pilates based exercises which strengthen the core and aid in creating better posture in both sitting and standing.
- Don’t let niggles or pain episodes last too long, issues can quickly become chronic if left to their own devices.
- Try to be active 3-5 times a week, with a moderate level of exertion for at least 2 of those sessions. This means that you cannot hold a conversation whilst you do it. This helps your anaerobic systems and will build resilience.
- Try to get in touch with nature at least once a week, walking in the bush, on the beach or your favorite outdoors area will help clear the mind and reconnect you with the bigger picture. This will help your mental stress level and aide clarity in thought. Surfing is excellent for this – give it a try!
Mid life strivers (35-50)
Well it is all go isn’t it! The demands of work and life keep pushing and pulling and it seems like there is no time for oneself. Not that your likely to mind… mostly. It can become difficult to maintain those healthy life choices that you know you should like exercise, enough sleep, healthy diet and stress resilience.
Life is full and rewarding as you come into your own in your personal and business life. If you have a family then you get the pleasure of seeing them grow and spread their wings. Time on the road gives you a maturity that adds to what you contribute while sometimes causing you to question your pace of life. It does takes it toll. You may say to yourself.. yes, I’ll do that tomorrow. With the busy schedule of life tomorrow may stay tomorrow more often than you wish or is healthy for you.
You may start to see age related reduction in your collagen levels. This reduces the elasticity of your skin resulting in an increase of smile lines and wrinkles. As collagen fibre represents 90% of your organic bone mass you may also experience an increase of stiffness, aches and pains. Tendon injuries and chronic conditions including chronic fatigue become more prevalent. This is a time of life to keep your joints healthy and bones strong. Address injuries as they happen with expert help to reduce stiffness, aches and pains and to help keep you strong into the future.
Get in touch so we can give advice on what you can do to ensure you stay in tip top shape, on top of your game and enjoying life to the fullest.
Mid life thrivers (50-65)
Now it’s time to give yourself permission to do what you truly love to do. After all you have done, it’s time to think a little more about yourself and what you want to do or need to do.
- Do you like to stay active and feel best when you walk regularly or are physically active most days?
- Do your projects and goals take centre stage in your life?
- Do you find your daily activities change frequently and it is difficult to set up a routine of self care activities such as walking, early to bed, regular meal times?
- Do you find that all three above apply to you at times?
By nature one tends to start taking a slower pace between 50 to 65 years of age. It just seems like the natural thing to do! Often the demands of family come second hand as Grandparent, uncle or aunty or extended family. While your work life (paid or unpaid) may still be important to you, it may no longer seem as consuming as it was earlier on in life. This is a time where attention naturally goes to what you have always wanted to do now you increasingly have the time to do it.
So the goal is to maintain muscle strength and muscle bulk to protect against tendon rupture and weakness of the muscles holding your joints. It’s important to ensure your bones have the nutrients required along with physical activity to support healthy formation of bone tissue. The earlier stiffness, aches and pains may now develop into more chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis which for some may require a joint replacement to keep you mobile and enjoying life.
Family Physio are here to help reduce your discomfort, increase mobility and show you how to make the most of this exciting time of life!
Active Seniors (65+)
Great, active seniors often find they can set up their life exactly how they would like it to be. In recent decades retirement has been redefined. You may like to be active in a variety of areas including a continuation of employment either part time or full time.
The benefits of this life stage often include
- less work pressure resulting in less stress and anxiety.
- an opportunity to improve your overall health as you have more time to sleep, adopt exercise hobbies such as golf or walking and prepare healthful foods.
- ability to ‘give back’ to your community by using the skills and experience you have developed over the course of your lifetime.
- more time and energy to spend with adult children, extended family and retired siblings and friends.
- having the time to put into a hobby, interest, intellectual pursuit or travelling
To make the most of this time of your life it is important to keep your joints, bones and muscles healthy and strong. There is a natural decrease in muscle tone and bulk at this time of life which can lead to an increase of weakness. Previous aches and pains may become more chronic and develop into osteopenia or osteoarthritis. You may find that a joint replacement is necessary to keep you mobile and enjoying life. We at Family Physio understand your needs and are here to educate, help soothe aches and pains and to aid in your recovery after surgery or injury.
Let’s ensure you have great quality of life together as a team.