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Healthy and Fit Young Athletes

By Debra Rodzinak

With youth activities being more prevalent in rec departments, schools, and other programs, more and more children are now part of organized sporting activities such as football, soccer, or baseball.  However, nutrition and body conditioning is necessary to keep these young athletes from getting injured.

Physical Developmental Issues

Since a child’s body is constantly growing and changing, the importance of properly preparing for sports participation is imperative.  Without this necessary step, a child can easily become injured.  With strict training schedules involved in some sports like gymnastics, wrestling, or football, the best cure is to take preventive measures.  Parents of children in sporting activities should help their child learn how to protect and prepare their bodies for the rigors that sports can place on the skeleton and joints.

Preventative Measures

By following some simple tips, a child can learn what to do in order to stay healthy while participating in sports.

  • Wear equipment that properly covers and fits the player.  Check the equipment for any damage and replace immediately if needed.
  • Eating a healthy diet of fresh foods and avoiding junk food provides the body with the energy needed to work at optimal levels.
  • Keeping weight at a healthy level means not being too heavy or too thin.  Endurance and peak performance is achieved only when the caloric intake is enough to fuel the body.
  • Staying hydrated allows the body to work to its highest level.  Young children should drink 40 ounces of water daily and teenagers should drink at least 64 ounces of water daily. 
  • Avoiding carbonated sodas full of sugar and caffeine are also necessary.  Sports drinks can be a good replacement, but check the amount of sugar in the drink.  Some sports drinks contain just as much sugar as a soda.
  • Warming up and stretching before every practice helps reduce injury.  Remaining flexible keeps all athletes healthy and inceases the chance of remaining injury-free.
  • Sleeping for eight hours per night allows the body to repair and restore itself.  A lack of sleep can cause a player to have a slower reaction time and could lead to injury.
  • Regular chiropractic visits ensure that the skeletal bones, muscles, and joints to the body are in proper alignment.  If injury does occur, a chiropractor can also help restore proper alignment and function.

If your child participates in sports, come by The Joint for a chiropractic evaluation.  Beginning the season with a properly aligned spine is the best preparation for a spectacular and injury-free season.  With no pesky insurance forms to fill out or appointment times to remember, getting your young athlete ready for the season is easy and stress-free.


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