If there's one thing that has become synonymous with kids and summer, at least around Carlson Chiropractic Center, its sports. Each year, more and more kids are getting involved in sporting activities, and even though being part of a football, soccer or Little League team is an important rite of passage, it can lead to serious problems without proper preparation.
So how do you make sure your child is ready to start the season, and see it through? First of all it's important to make sure that proper warm up, stretching and strength training is part of their practice and game-day routine. Doing just a few minutes of slow jogging or jump rope, as well as sport-specific warm-ups and stretching can make your child much less susceptible to injury.
The risk of injury can also be lessened if all of the equipment your child is wearing fits properly – that means helmets, pads, shoes, gloves, all of it. You also need to make sure there is no damage to the equipment that might compromise the safety of your player.
Proper nutrition and hydration is also extremely important. Teenage athletes should drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, and younger athletes should drink five to eight 8-ounce glasses of water. Think water and sports drinks on practice or game day and avoid sugar loaded, caffeinated and carbonated drinks.
And on the nutrition front, a well balanced diet and regular meals can make a big difference. Remember, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and the ACA recommends that young athletes eat a healthy meal two to four hours before a game or practice, and another within one to two hours after the game or practice. It's also more important than ever to think healthy when it comes to meals and snacks and avoid high-fat foods, candy bars and fast food.
It's up to us as parents, grandparents and caregivers, to make sure our kids can enjoy sports and all of the associated benefits of regular activity. We can do that by making sure the focus isn't all about the win, but about their wellness in the process. As always, regular chiropractic adjustments can be very beneficial to the bumps and bruises of summer fun, and we can not only get your star player's neuromusculoskeletal system in tip top shape, we can give you the advice you need on sports training and injury prevention.