Keeping Your Young Athlete Healthy
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, body-conditioning and chiropractic care needed for preventing a sports related injury on and off the playing field.
“The majority – if not all – sports are good, provided that the child prepares appropriately,” says Dr. Timothy Ray, a member of the American Chiropractic Association’s Council on Sports Injuries and Physical Fitness. “Without proper preparation, playing any sport can turn into a bad experience. 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 in the family is to help them prepare their bodies and to learn to protect themselves from a sports related injury before they happen.
Proper nutrition and hydration are also extremely vital to avoid sports related injuries. While an ordinary person may need to drink eight to 10 8-ounce glasses of water each day, athletes need to drink even more than that for proper absorption. Breakfast should be the most important meal of the day. Also, eating a healthy meal two to four hours before a practice or a game and another within one to two hours after a game or practice allows for proper replenishment and refuels the body.
More Helpful Tips:
Wear the proper equipment. Certain contact sports, such as football and hockey, can be dangerous if the equipment is not properly fitted. Make sure all equipment, including helmets, pads, and shoes fit your child or adolescent. Talk to your child’s coach or trainer if the equipment is damaged.
Eat healthy meals. Make sure your young athlete is eating a well-balanced diet and does not skip meals. Avoid high-fat foods, such as candy bars and fast food. At home, provide fruit rather than cookies, and vegetables rather than potato chips. Proper nutrition can significantly decrease the likely hood of a sports related injury.
Maintain a healthy weight. Certain sports, such as gymnastics, wrestling, and figure skating, may require your young athlete to follow strict dietary rules. Be sure your child does not feel pressured into being too thin and that he/she understands that proper nutrition and caloric intake is needed for optimal performance and endurance.
Drink water. Hydration is a key element to optimal fitness. Teenage athletes should drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Younger athletes should drink five to eight 8-ounce glasses of water.
Follow a warm-up routine. Be sure your child or his/her coach includes a warm-up and stretching session before every practice, game or meet. A slow jog, jumping rope and/or lifting small weights reduces the risk of torn or ripped muscles. Flexibility is key when pushing to score that extra goal or make that critical play.
Get plenty of rest. 8 hours of sleep is ideal for the young athlete. Lack of sleep and rest can decrease performance. Sluggishness, irritability, and loss of interest could indicate that your child is fatigued.
***MOST IMPORTANTLY ***
Have your athlete’s spine checked for subluxation! Your child could have weakness and damage in their spine without even knowing it, which could leave them more susceptible to more severe problems. Subluxation occurs when one or more vertebrae of the spine are jarred out of place. This creates soft tissue damage in the tissues surrounding the vertebrae and then inflammation sets in as a response to the damage. This creates endangering stress/force on the spinal cord and nerves that will cause pain, numbness, tingling and many other symptoms, but it’s what you don’t feel that may cause the most harm.
Nerve irritation severely impacts the proper communication from your brain to your body. It’s that communication that is imperative for your body to respond accordingly to stress, life or injury. Response times, healing rates, and optimal performance are all areas that are directly impacted by subluxation and nerve interference. We specialize in detecting and correcting subluxation and nerve interference. There is a reason why all 32 NFL teams and the majority of all professional athletes are under regular chiropractic care. They are seeking an advantage and realize they experience better performance with a healthy spine and nervous system.
So bring your athlete in today and let us check them to make sure they are prepared for the upcoming season and ensure better health and performance!