Welcome back to the second half of our series on getting back-to-school ready – on the courts and fields and courses, that is! In part 1, we discussed how getting participation clearance from your child’s pediatrician or family practice physician is paramount in making sure that your student is healthy enough to participate in school sports. We also looked at the benefits of visiting with the school/team trainer about proper strengthening and training methods, as well as remembering to set realistic, attainable training goals for the pre-season.
Today we’re going to look at a few more awesome tips, all of which are courtesy of Dartmouth’s Children’s Hospital and Sports Medicine Team!
- Getting the proper amount of sleep and rest are HUGE. What does “proper” mean in terms of sleep? Well, your kiddo should be getting – at a minimum – 8 hours of sleep each night. Sleep allows our bodies vital recovery time that is used to rebuild stressed tissue. So, what do we mean when we say “rest”? Basically what we’re saying is LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! If you’re experiencing pain during training, STOP! Pain can indicate that your workouts are either too intense or that you’re not allowing enough time for recovery.
- Eat right and stay hydrated. Our bodies rely on what we put into them to expend energy, meaning that keeping up with a balanced diet and making sure that we’re drinking enough water (before, during, and after exercise) help our bodies stay as healthy as possible so that we can perform at our absolute best.
- Warm up and cool down the right way! Before every workout (and before every competition) time should be spent warming up so the body is prepared to accept the demands that are about to be placed upon it. And, when it’s all said and done, remembering to cool down properly will aid in removing toxins that have built up in the body (which is a normal byproduct of exertion) and will help muscles to recover.
- Train in the A.M. hours. Believe it or not, but working out in the morning has been shown to be more beneficial than doing so later in the day or evening. Plus, working out early in the day releases endorphins that will stay with you all day long!
- Make sure you have the proper equipment – no matter what you’re doing. This means shin guards and cleats for soccer players, running shoes for those participating in track and cross country, knee pads and court shoes for volleyball players…you get the drift, right? And, if new footwear is part of the picture (which it probably is, considering how fast kids feet grow), make sure that those shoes are broken into BEFORE the season to prevent blisters and such.
And, of course, HAVE FUN! One of the joys of sports, training, and competition is being able to do something that we LOVE, which means we should be having fun while doing it, right?!?
Should an injury crop up in the pre-season or during the season, make sure to call and schedule an appointment at Prairie Orthopaedic and Plastic Surgery ASAP. We’ll do our best to get you in, out, and on the road to recovery as quickly as possible!