Simple stretching exercises for CHILDREN

Self-care stretching exercises for smart phone addicts and slouchers

Professional consultant/Hsu Chih-Chung, Physical Therapist Li-Kong Ortho Clinic, New Taipei City

Frequently asked question 1 : Smart phone addicts

Not only adults are smart phone addicts. The universality of smart phones and tablet PCs has made children more likely to become addicted to phone and computer games. Due to their young age and elasticity of muscles, when they begin using 3C products they can play for a long time but, as they use for a longer period of time, muscle tolerance will decline; and also long-term poor posture with head down as they play with their phone/tablet affects a child’s physical development and height.

When we sit correctly our waist, shoulders and neck are straight; when we look down we not only stretch the suboccipital muscles in our necks, we also make our beck muscles work continually; when a poor posture is maintained for a long period of time the neck muscles can become tight of slightly torn which irritates the nerves and leads to migraine, and also leads to tightness and discomfort in the trapezius and levator scapulae. Also, when our heads are down our upper back will also sink forwards; quite a few cases have been recorded of young males who injured their neck or waist because they were sat slouched on a sofa, with back bent and only using their bottom to sit.

Suboccipital muscles stretching exercises


Sit down on a chair with back straight and upper body still, and then tilt the head forward so it feels like you are squeezing out a double chin and hold for 1-2 seconds; repeat 10-20 times.

This stretching exercise will be difficult for beginners and needs practice. When stretching remember to move the neck back horizontally not tuck in the chin.

Suboccipital muscles stretching exercises

Trapezius and levator scapulae muscle stretching exercises


Sit up straight on a chair with arms straight and hold the side tightly with your right hand, then bend the neck slightly, tilt the head to the left side and rotate to the right;then lift up the left hand and place it above the right ear and exert slight downwards pressure for about 30 seconds. This is a trapezius stretching exercise. Next, likewise bend the neck slightly, tilt the head to the left side but rotate left, again placing the left hand above the right ear and applying downward pressure gently for about 30 seconds. This is a levator scapulae muscle s stretching exercise. Do each 5-10 times.

Sit up straight with right hand holding
the chair tightly

Bend the neck slightly, tilt the head to the left and
rotate to the right

Lift up the left hand, place above the right ear
and apply light downwards pressure

Bend the neck slightly, tilt the head to the left
and rotate to the right

Frequently asked question 2 : Slouching

Slouching, also called “Round Shoulders” often affects boys as they grow taller; boys mainly slouch to poor posture, girls often do it because they are shy. When a person slouches their spine is in an abnormal position as it bears load and this will not only affect a person’s height development it can also cause curvature of the spine.

We suggest that during adolesence children are taught to correct poor posture because, after puberty, correcting poor posture will be very difficult. Stretching the Pectoralis major is one way of correcting poor posture and is convenient as it can be done in the home.

Pectoralis major stretching exercises

Pectoralis major stretching exercises


Face a wall with the feet well apart and shoulders at same width as feet;open hands, bend elbows to 90 degrees and place the palms against the wall;lean forward slightly, breathe in and, when exhaling, tilt the upper body forward slowly and you will feel the shoulders open and a slight ache in the muscles of the upper arm;hold the position for 30 seconds; breathe in and, when exhaling, return slowly to the starting position;do 5-10 times.

Apart from correcting poor posture by doing Pectoralis major stretching exercises we suggest that people play badminton once or twice a week; this is not only healthy it will also nurture dynamic vision which can prevent myopia in puberty

The above content represents the author’s views alone and not those of this company
( Edit by VICTOR Badminton )


Hsu Chih-Chung
* School of Physical Therapy Chung Shan Medical University - Bachelor
* School of Graduate Institute of Physical Therapy, College of
Medicine, National Taiwan University - Master & PhD student
* The 21st Summer Deaflympics, Taipei, 2009 - Physical Therapist
of Chinese Taipei
* 2009-now Chinese Taipei Korfball Team - Physical Therapist
* 2010-2012 Jen-Teh Junior College Medicine, Nursing and Management - Instructor
* The 2013 World Games -- Physical Therapist of Chinese Taipei
* Li-Kong Ortho clinic - Physical Therapist