How to Keep Athletic Kids Happy and Healthy

Getting your children to participate in sports and activities is a fundamental part of their wellbeing. Not only is the exercise good for their health, but the camaraderie of sport helps children to develop their relationship wellness. So how can you as a parent help to keep your growing children happy and healthy as they participate in athletic activities?


1. Warm Ups: According to family wellness expert Dr. Kristen Bobik, DC, DABCA, Founder of the Balance Doc, ‘Proper warm up’s along with weight lifting and stretching are common in all childhood athletics. Unfortunately, many children are taught the incorrect methods to these activities, or are allowed to perform them incorrectly on a regular basis. Doing so creates abnormal stressors on the vertebrae, bones, muscles and other tissues. It is key that parents ensure that their children are learning and practicing the correct techniques in these practices. Check in with your child’s coach, watch them during a practice, and follow up by having them show you their technique at home, or on personal time.’


2. Diet: ‘Nutrition is something that you can’t afford to mess around with when your child is growing and also an active athlete,’ says Bobik. ‘In order for them to reach their full potential the fuel they put in their body must be good fuel full of vitamins and nutrients that the cells need! Ensuring your child eats a breakfast each morning that includes proteins such as eggs and bacon (yes, bacon can be healthy in moderation and if you purchase a brand that does not cure their product) will start the body’s metabolic process and provide fuel for your child’s morning. Eating a small and healthy meal before and after practices or games will allow replenishment to take place and keep the body’s metabolism operating at its peak.’


3. Hydration: Bobik asserts, ‘Hydration is key. The body is comprised primarily of water and without it our brain functioning decreases, or body functions are impaired and serious complications from dehydration can occur. It is recommended that active children need eight to 10 glasses of water per day (80-100 oz.) to maintain optimum performance. Sport-drink products can be skipped, as they often contain ingredients that can work against the hydration efforts of the body. Plain water is the best option for children during their day. It is especially important to keep hydrated during games and practices to ensure optimum athletic performance.’


4. Supplements: ‘There have been a number of mainstream news articles questioning the efficiency and health benefits of vitamin supplement use,’ notes Bobik. ‘The facts from these studies are often misconstrued and manipulated to benefit a specific point of view. The reality is that a high quality daily vitamin supplement from a reputable health label can provide a growing child more benefits than harm (if any would actually exist). Taking vitamins as instructed on a label or health care provider ensures that the maximum benefits of the supplement are received. A vitamin supplement will compliment a healthy diet thus producing a healthy body. Caution is given in regards to excessive vitamin use. While some vitamins are water soluble and pass through the urine without negative impact on the body, some vitamins are fat soluble (example – Vitamin D) and cannot be passed in the urine. These fat soluble vitamins remain in the body and will build up, possibly creating negative side effects such as headaches, fatigue and nausea. In addition, avoid trendy supplements like Creatine and other “bulking” or “thinning” agents. They are not designed for children or teens to use and often have negative side effects for children and adults alike.’

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