Why is developing the core so important?
A peanut-shaped stability ball is my favourite piece of equipment. I use it everyday in my therapy sessions; it is a fun and effective way to develop the muscles of the core. Have you ever noticed your child propping their head on a desk or slouching? Can he/she only sit for a short period of time before they start to fidget? An Occupational Therapist can help to determine whether these behaviours are related to core muscle weakness. It is so important for a person to be strong in their abdominals and lower back areas as they contributes to good posture, balance and also provide the foundation that we need for coordinated upper limb movements. When children are weak in the middle of their bodies, they tire quickly when needing to hold a position such as sitting for an extended period of time.
How can you develop core muscles?
The peanut ball is one way to work on this area:
- sitting on it (instead of a chair) to read or watch television
- playing reaching games (to the floor or above the head)
- rolling over the top of it on your tummy
- performing a sit-up movement to play a game of catch
These are just a few examples. Other positions that help to work on the core include: crawling games or staying in the crawl position to complete a puzzle or to play a board game, high/tall kneeling in front of a chair (without resting elbows on the chair and without sitting back on the heels) when manipulating play doh or stringing beads, lying on tummy in a Cobra position (weight-bearing through forearms) to read a book or to play on the iPad, lying on back with knees bent to remove stickers that are placed on the knees, etc. The more you vary the positions and postures, the more of the core that you will target!