Tips For Active Kids

Whether it’s organized sports, riding bikes around the neighborhood, or jumping rope in the driveway, the sunshine beckons kids outdoors to do what they do best—play. No parent wants a child to return to school with a broken leg or sprained ankle. So help kids take the necessary precautions to avoid injuries. Let’s Get Physical Even dancing or a game of tag can injure tight muscles. Encourage children to warm up and cool down before and after each activity. Warm-up exercises including stretching and light jogging can help minimize the chance of muscle strain or other soft-tissue injuries. Cool-down exercises can loosen muscles that have tightened during exercise. If your child is planning to sign up for soccer or try out for the basketball team, the American Council on Exercise recommends having her undergo a thorough medical examination beforehand. A physical exam will identify any preexisting medical conditions that may be exacerbated by playing sports. Also, a personal trainer or registered dietitian specializing in children’s requirements can answer any questions you may have about your child’s physical condition or nutritional status. Use The Proper Equipment Protective equipment that fits your child well is a no-brainer. Helmets are a necessity for riding bikes, skateboarding, inline skating, and martial arts. Shin guards and the proper cleats are essential for keeping future soccer stars injury free. Wrist guards and knee pads may also be helpful for inline skaters and skateboarders. Carefully choose the right equipment for your child’s sport and make sure it fits properly. Hydration Is Key Kids are more susceptible to heat-related illness than adults are, and the urge to play often overrides their bodies’ need for water. Children perspire less than adults and require a higher body temperature to trigger sweating. Be sure to have plenty of easily portable bottled water or sports drinks on hand, and remind your children how important it is to take a break and have a drink if they start to feel weak, dizzy, or nauseated.