Keep Young Athletes Healthy and Fit
In today’s age of health and fitness, more and more kids are involved in sporting activities. Although being part of a football, soccer or Little League team is an important rite of passage for many children, parents and their children could be overlooking the importance of proper nutrition and body-conditioning needed for preventing injuries on and off the playing field.
The majority of sports are good, provided the child prepares appropriately. There are structural and physical developmental issues that need to be taken into consideration before children undertake certain sports.
Highly competitive sports such as football, gymnastics and wrestling follow rigorous training schedules that can be potentially dangerous to an adolescent or teenager. The best advice for parents who have young athletes is to help them prepare their bodies and learn to protect themselves by preventing sports injuries.
Proper warm up, stretching and weight-lifting exercises are essential for children involved in sports. Young athletes should begin with a slow jog as a general warm-up, followed by a sport-specific warm-up, stretching all major muscle groups.
Proper nutrition and hydration are also extremely vital. Athletes need to drink more than eight to ten 8-ounce glasses of water each day. Breakfast should be the most important meal of the day, and eating a healthy meal two to four hours before a practice or game, and another within one to two hours after allows for proper replenishment and refuels the body.
Young athletes often think they are invincible. These tips can help ensure your child is healthy and fit. Encourage your child to:
Wear the proper equipment
Eat healthy meals
Maintain a healthy weight
Drink lots of water (1/2 of their body weight in ounces)
Avoid sugar-loaded, caffeinated and carbonated drinks
Follow a warm-up routine
Take vitamins daily (ask your chiropractor which supplements are best for your child)
Avoid trendy supplements
Get plenty of rest
Health Tip: Eliminating or reducing soda intake gives weight loss a big boost by reducing sugar consumption. Even diet soda consumption is highly correlated with weight gain and diabetes, due to the body’s insulin response to what it assumes to be sugar. Reduce or eliminate all soda intake to facilitate weight loss and improve health.