Importance of Muscles
Muscle tone determines a child’s performance in sports. Children with low muscle tone often have problems balancing and may fall because there are not enough muscles to expand and contract to maintain equilibrium. Helping your child to gain good muscle tone not only enhances balance and agility, it will also help him to develop gross motor skills.
Since the brain is responsible for sending signals to the body on which muscles to expand and contract, exercising can improve cognitive functioning and coordination.
Developing through Swimming
One of the best ways to help improve muscle tone is to teach your child how to swim. Since low muscle tone affects the body’s ability to balance and perform well in sports, swimming is ideal as it is a weightless exercise. Muscle tone is improved because the lack of it no longer hinders performance but instead, encourage the normalizing of it.
Ironically, the weightless effect of swimming also offers some resistance to help build muscles. The arms, shoulders, chest, legs and core are all met with resistance in the water as the child learns how to move in the water. Over time, the muscles will grow and strengthen. It can also be an intense form of aerobic exercise once your child is able to pick up speed. If swimming becomes an enjoyable exercise for your child, he may not even realize the intensity of it. If your child has asthma, he can benefit from an improved lung capacity since swimming als strengthens the chest muscles.
What about other sports?
Swimming should not be the sole form of exercise. Variation is always recommended, so encourage your child to run around the playground, play some frisbee or jump rope. Swimming, however, can begin from as young as infancy, so it is usually the first type of exercise which is recommended by doctors to improve low muscle tone.
Another type of exercise that can benefit low muscle tone is yoga, which helps to build endurance by stretching and lengthening the muscles. Stamina will also be improved while children learn about connection between the mind and body. Other types of exercises to help low muscle tone are skating and horseback riding.
Children with low muscle tone do not benefit much from team and competitive sports as they may feel an immense pressure to perform well. Thus, individual sports are usually more ideal as they can focus on only improving themselves rather than being on par with their peers. Parents can also participate with the child during such individual sports which improves family bonding.
It should be highlighted that a doctor is to be consulted before the commencement of any form of exercise for children, especially those with low muscle tone. Sometimes all it takes to improve low muscle tone is to just get your child moving and doing an activity that he enjoys. With the right kind of exercises and lots of encouragement from parents, low muscle tone can be improved over time.