It is common knowledge that martial arts can help accelerate a child’s focus, attention, and overall cognitive functioning. One of the reasons this is the case is due to the emphasis placed on core strength when performing the martial arts movements and postures. There has been findings in the field of child development that link core strength to improved academic performance and even improved handwriting. Here are some signs that your child may be negatively impacted by underdeveloped core muscles:
- Short Attention Span:
Strong core muscles help to support the spine and skeletal structure and allows your child to maintain good posture. This means that your child will be able to sit straight and focus for longer periods of time both in the classroom and when studying at home.
- Poor Self-regulation:
Strong core muscles are required to hold up their bodyweight and maintain certain positions. If their core is weak and becomes tired, they will fidget often trying to find a comfortable position. This type of reaction may be perceived as hyperactivity.
- Low effort and motivation:
Especially the case with kids at the high school level, lack of focus and concentration can lead to lack of interest in the tasks assigned to them. This may lead to an apathetic “good enough” approach to school work.
- Social Interaction and Sedentary Lifestyle:
Students with poor core strength may have trouble performing physical activity at a proficient level. Inability to perform as well as their peers may lead to reluctance when it comes to social interaction. In addition, children with poor social relationships may lead to a sedentary lifestyle throughout adulthood.
Simple core strengthening exercises can be incorporated into your child’s daily routine in the form of games. At Apex Martial Arts Academy, we put emphasis when designing our lesson plans to incorporate such games. Here are a few that you can do with your children at home:
- Animal Races: Our favorite animal races are the bear crawl (crawling on hands and feet in prone position with knees and torso off the ground) and the crab walk (crawling on hands and feet in supine position with back off the ground). Once your child reaches higher levels of proficiency, some of these movements can be incorporated into obstacles.
- Minefield: Set up agility cones (landmines) or other obstacles throughout a small area and everyone has to crawl over the cones and through the obstacles without touching the landmines.
- Over and Under: One child holds themselves up in a pushup position while a friend or partner jumps over and crawls under them.