5 Ways to Prepare Your Kids to Return to School Sports
Another school year is about to begin, and that means the return of school sports! But returning to regular physical activity after an unstructured summer can make for a difficult adjustment, so now is a great time to get back outside and start getting back into competitive shape. Read on for 5 ways to make sure your child is healthy and ready for a return to sports!
1. Get in Shape
We've had difficult weather this summer, alternately too hot and too rainy, so your family may have spent a lot of days indoors. Make some time to get back outside and get used to moving again! For nice days:
- Experience nature: visit nature trails, zoos, and parks. On August 25th, entry to a national park is free in honor of the National Park Service's birthday!
- Walking: hiking is great, but you can get plenty of steps in just by walking around your neighborhood.
- Family bike rides or rollerskating.
- Swim: visit a beach or a local pool.
- Build an obstacle course in the backyard: you can use this to practice sports fundamentals like balance and agility while still having fun.
- Games outside: games like ladder toss, cornhole (and other bean bag games), ring toss, and bocce ball are great ways to build hand-eye coordination that will serve them well during the season.
If the weather continues to make outside activity challenging, there are plenty of opportunities inside. You can buy a weight set and do some light strength training, or follow along with exercise videos on YouTube. Whatever you do, make sure it's something your family likes to do together, and avoid overwhelming your children with the sports they'll be playing: cross-training helps develop valuable and adaptable fundamentals, while preventing burnout and emphasizing the satisfaction that comes from any physical activity.
2. Eat Healthy
Summer is a junk food season. Many children get a significant amount of their nutrition from school lunches, and there are fewer opportunities to snack when you're in class during the day. This is the perfect time to get your family's diet back on track with the right amounts of vitamins and nutrients everyone needs to keep active and feel great. Click this link for healthy eating tips!
3. Stay Hydrated and Get Enough Sleep
We tend to neglect hydration and proper sleep, but they're just as important to a healthy lifestyle as a well-balanced diet. Good hydration can help your young athlete avoid heat-related illnesses during sports, and to deliver nutrients through their body to keep them performing at their best.
Sleep is something adolescents sorely need, and many simply do not get enough. The CDC recommends 8 to 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night for teenagers, and 9 to 12 hours for school age children, to help maintain a strong metabolism, a strong body, and good health. Children and teens who don't get enough sleep are at higher risk for diabetes, obesity, injuries, mental health issues, and attention problems.
4. Check Your Gear and See Your Doctor
This is a great time to check the condition of any gear that your child may be using during the season, such as gloves, pads, shoes, and cleats. Many sports programs provide much of the gear, but your child will likely still use some of their own for practice at the very least. Make sure protective pads and helmets are in good shape and any footwear is stable to reduce the risk of ankle sprains.
Many youth sports programs require a physical exam from a doctor, and the month before the school year begins is a great time to see your pediatrician. It's also a great chance to visit the optometrist if your child has vision problems and may need protective lenses for sports.
5. Manage Expectations
Youth sports can impart so many life skills, from dedication to teamwork to patience, but they can also be mental and emotional challenges. Sports help you understand your talents, interests, and your natural responses to difficulty, and these aren't always easy lessons. Athletic experiences can be disappointing, especially in a season that may end up disrupted or shortened due to COVID-19. It helps to have open discussions with your kids about what they expect out of their season and what goals are reasonable. Most students shouldn't be in sports with the expectation of becoming a professional athlete; instead, they should be having fun, developing life skills, bonding with their friends, and learning about themselves. Emphasizing the rewards of sports that transcend winning and losing highlights their true value and allows them to be more than another joyless responsibility.
Pain Relief to Get You Moving Again
Do you need help moving more? Many of us are getting used to exercise again. Mountain Ice is here to help! No matter what your activity level is, we've got a Mountain Ice variety that will help relieve your aches and pains and let you enjoy physical activity alongside your family:
- Pain Relief Gel: The perfect blend of rich ingredients formulated to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, improve circulation, and promote better nerve and joint healing.
- Sports Recovery Gel: Our unique formula relieves pain, reduces swelling, prevents muscle spasms, and speeds up recovery from exertion, while enhancing performance and promoting overall muscle health.