Spring has finally arrived! The grass turns green, birds chirp, flowers bloom, and children turn their attention to the outdoors. Spring sports have begun and many parents begin to ask how they can keep their young athlete happy and healthy this time of year. Here are a few tips to ensure your child prospers through this sport season.
Adequate hydration plays a key role in your child's success and is vital for a healthy lifestyle. How do you know how much water your son/daughter needs? What are the signs of possible dehydration or distress?
Body water balance is determined by water intake versus water loss
- Body water balance = Fluid consumed (+ small amount of water produced by metabolism) - Water Loss.
- Children more than one year old should consume 6-8 drinks per day
- Toddlers 120-150 ml per drink (4-5 oz per drink)
- Older children 250-300 ml per drink (8-10 oz per drink)
Children have a higher proportion of body water than adults, however, children are:
- LESS heat tolerant than adults
- Can become dehydrated when exercising, particularly in hot climates
- Water requirement of infants and children are GREATER than those of adults
To help decrease potential for dehydration, follow these simple steps:
- Encourage children to consume fluids regularly
- Avoid Diuretic drinks (fluids that increase or encourage urine production)
- Examples include: drinks high in caffeine such as coffee or tea, also drinks high in sugar
- Encourage water, electrolytes, and non-caffeinated drinks
- Increase fluid intake with increased activity level
Watch for Signs of Dehydration
- Dark yellow urine
- Increased heart rate
- Muscle cramping
- Decreased skin elasticity
- No more tears
- Weight loss (5% mild dehydration, 6-10% moderate dehydration, >10% severe dehydration)
****When your child is playing in severe heat you can also weigh them in the morning and evening to track any extreme weight loss.****
Staying Ahead of the Game!
Muscle Balance is Key to Success!
While children become more active, they are also susceptible to an increase in injuries. Muscle balance is essential for success. Young athletes need to keep his/her hamstring muscles strong. Avoid overstretching the hamstrings (90 degree straight leg raise at the hip with knee straight). Have the ability to stand and bend over and slightly touch toes (palms to the floor is too much). Don't forget to also properly stretch the Achilles tendon and low back.
**Click the links below to view helpful stretches
Also, wear correct footwear. Shoes that support the heels and have good arch supports are critical to decrease the potential of strains and sprains. Avoid wearing flip flops, sandals, and wearing shoes that are untied during activity.
The average person is going to need more support from a shoe. There has been a demand on shoe companies to make a lighter shoe; and the only way they could do this was to take support out of the shoe. Minimalist shoes (Nike Lite, Vibram shoes) have a heel counter that completely collapses in. This collapse of the heel counter will cause athletes to use an ankle strategy vs. a hip strategy when they walk or run. With increased ankle strategy, you will over work your foot or ankle because your heel is not stable. This leaves you more susceptible to ankle pain, calf pain, and/or shin splints. When you have a stable heel counter, it is going to allow your foot to stride more appropriately and not roll to the outside of your foot avoiding these injuries and encouraging the hip strategy. A hip strategy is your goal for optimal performance. This is the foundation, we get our power for performance from our hip strategy, not our ankle strategy. A minimalist shoe causes a flabby heel; and when you have a flabby heel it is difficult to integrate a hip strategy because you can't land on your foot and be stable in your heel bone. Avoid this type of shoe for sports. Below is a list of recommended shoes to help your athlete gain the most power and performance out of his/her body.
To determine which shoe is right for you, come into the clinic for a free assessment and $10 coupon off a pair of shoes. Click for the 2015 Recommended Shoe List.
Come in today for a $10 off coupon to Shu's Idaho Running Company!