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Encourage your child to:
Follow a warm-up routine. Be sure your child or his/her coach includes a warm-up and stretching session before and after every practice, game or meet. A slow jog, calisthenics, and/or lifting small weights reduce the risk of ripped or torn muscles. Flexibility becomes key when trying to score that extra goal or make a critical play.
Maintain a healthy weight. Children that are overweight are unhealthy just as much as youths that are underweight. Be sure your child does not feel pressured into being too thin and that he/she understands proper nutrition and caloric intake is needed for optimal performance and endurance.
Drink water. Hydration is a key element to optimal fitness and function. 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.
Avoid sugar-loaded, caffeinated, and/or carbonated drinks. Sports drinks are a good source of replenishment for kids engaged in long-duration sports, or those exercising more than 60 minutes.
Wear the proper equipment when required and make sure that the equipment is properly fitted to the child. Make sure all equipment, including gloves, shoes, and helmets fit your child or adolescent properly.
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, fried food, and fast food. At home, provide fruit and vegetables rather than cookies and potato chips.
Get plenty of rest. Eight hours of sleep is ideal for young athletes. Lack of sleep and rest can catch up with the child and decrease performance.
Have your child examined by a Chiropractor. Doctors of Chiropractic are licensed and trained to care for the neuromusculoskeletal system and can provide advice on sports training, nutrition, and injury prevention to young athletes. A proper chiropractic evaluation by a qualified pediatric chiropractor can keep them in the game and help to minimize if not prevent injuries, particularly injuries leading to spinal injuries. Often, minor spinal injuries go unnoticed until adulthood, when pain sets in and it thus takes longer to make corrections.
About the Author:
Dr. Pamela Stone is in private practice in Kennesaw and works with many athletes, children, and pregnant women. The Family Chiropractic Center is located in the Publix Shopping Center at the intersection of Highway 575 & Bells Ferry Road. Dr. Stone is a long time ICPA supporter and member. She has completed her 120 hour certification with the ICPA and is working towards Diplomate status. She can be reached via our doctor's directory: www.icpa4kids.com
Dr. Stone can be reached at: 770-926-8746 -
This article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #09.
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