Learning muscle coordination starts in infancy when a child is first attempting to grasp and it continues through adolescence. For young athletes, boosting kids' coordination and movement skills can help give them the edge they want in the game, but it is important to determine what age is most optimal to work on these types of abilities.
Exercises and fun games in which kids practice balance, rhythm and spatial orientation can help them develop important skills that can be used during competition and throughout life. Some sources site that coordination is best developed between the ages of 7 and 14, but that doesn't mean you can't incorporate age-appropriate activities into your child's routine even sooner.
Keep in mind, boosting kids' coordination isn't just for peak performance in physical activities, as it can have an even more critical effect in preventing injury. Having the ability to respond to auditory and visual stimulus simultaneously is important, plus balance, flexibility and the dexterity to react in a split second can prevent mild to even severe accidents from happening.
1. Jump it out Running, jumping and skipping are awesome cardio activities, so organize a game of tag or hop-scotch, or set up an obstacle course in the back yard. Jumping on a trampoline is the perfect way to get blood pumping, and it also helps kids develop balance, coordination, strength and more. Plus, kids absolutely love it! (Learn more about our great kid's workout video!)
2. Yoga Yoga isn't just for adults. It's a great activity for kids, too! If you've never done yoga before, check out a DVD from your local library or research free videos online. It's awesome for balance and strength training. Grab your kids and give it a go, and remember, if you fall out of poses, just laugh and get back up! It's all part of the fun.
3. Jumping rope An oldie but a goodie, jumping rope is an amazing way to build muscle coordination and balance skills. Start with a basic jump and then change it up a bit by practicing knee lifts, spins, double jumps, and more. If you have two kids, have them face each other and mirror jumping movements. Put on some tunes and let the good times roll!