Kids; whether they’re your children, grandchildren, or even siblings, you tend to worry about them. Will they have trouble making friends? Will they do well in school? Will they be awkward? Confident? Active? Lazy? A way to minimize that worry would be to get them into sports. When children are athletes they benefit greatly from it. Be it a team based or individual, kids will build confidence, become team leaders, have better social skills and self-esteem, and will also help them excel in academic subjects. More importantly, they’ll have fun doing it. So, you help them sign up for a sport, now what? Here are a couple of tips so that the youth in your life has a healthy sports experience.
- Let’s Get Physical: Physicals, that is. Children cannot join a sport if they have not had their yearly physical yet. A qualified doctor can make sure that they receive a pre-participation physical exam (PPE). This is done so that you (and everyone else involved) can make sure that the child is healthy and ready to play.
- Hydrate, hydrate, and hydrate! Especially now in the summer, it is crucial that kids in sports drink lots (and lots) of water. Athletes need to drink plenty of water (16 ounces) specifically two hours before playing. They also need to stay hydrated while participating in their choice of sport. It’s recommended that they have between five and ten ounces of water (or sports drink) every 15 to 20 minutes while they compete. Studies have shown that many kids end up playing while being dehydrated. Don’t let the child in your life play that way. Staying hydrated will also help to ensure that they avoid any heat related injuries and/or illnesses, such as heat exhaustion or a heat stroke.
- Burnin’ Up: Warming up, that is to say. One of the easiest way to avoid injuries in sports is to make sure that children warm-up. Stretching muscles prepares them for physical activities and helps to prevent injuries. A good warm-up will increase blood flow, loosen joints, and elevate their temperature. Warming-up should only take about ten to twenty minutes, during this time athletes can mentally prepare themselves for the sport that they are about to partake in.
- Push It: Don’t overdo it though! When children are having fun, the last thing they want to do is stop playing. Even if that means not listening to what their bodies are saying. Make sure to remind them to take plenty of breaks and to use that time to hydrate or to keep their muscles warmed-up. Sometimes the injuries that come from overdoing a physical activity can be subtle, but they can become worse over times. Teach kids to listen to their bodies to prevent any injuries from becoming worse.
Children can have a great and fun experience when involved in a sport. However, if you find that the youth in your life has a sports injury, be sure to take them to a doctor. Request an appointment with a NJ sports medicine specialist at the Advanced Orthopedic and Sports Institute.