Avoid the Pitfalls of Kid’s Summer Practices for Fall Sports

Well it’s been quite a while since I did a blog post; let’s just call it my “summer hiatus” instead of sheer laziness. As I sit here though, hearing patients in my Monroeville Chiropractor office, seeing some of the local Pittsburgh news, etc, I know that the fall sports scene is ramping up for athletes of all ages, especially for children.

After what is usually a nice, relaxing, and sometimes lazy summer, it’s important to take care and be mindful of a few things as they ramp up and prepare for the fall sports. Here are a couple things that I share with my Penn Hills Chiropractor patients:

1.    Hydrate: Signs of dehydration start to show at a 2% loss of water body weight. The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day.  The old adage, “Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.” is actually close to accurate. That’s about 1.9 liters, which isn’t that different from the Institute of Medicine recommendations. Children’s requirements are different than adults, and you can see that on the following table:

Age Range                  Adequate Daily Intake of Beverages
1 – 3 years                                about 4 cups
4 – 8 years                                about 5 cups
9-13 years               about 8 cups for boys; about 7 cups for girls
14-18 years              about 11 cups for boys; about 8 cups for girls

2.    Sports Drinks: Along the hydration theme, I wanted to mention that sports drinks, Gatorade etc, are excellent for hydration. It’s important to not just replenish water, but the electrolyte replenishment of a sports drink is crucial for athletes. I typically recommend Gatorade because it has a great balance and it does include Sodium, which you excrete when you sweat, which is critical for blood pressure and volume during times of exertion.

3.    Stretching: Most everyone stretches before they workout or exercise, if you don’t, then you better start! However, here at the beginning of seasons, stretch a bit more than you think you should. There are tons of different stretches for each muscle group, so getting into specifics here is a very long endeavor, but if you would like to know some specific stretches for you or your child’s needs, feel free to ask me on Facebook.

All in all, just pay attention to what your body is telling you, and when it comes to your child, pay attention to what they are telling you but also pay attention to their body language and behavior. Athletes, no matter what age, often tend to “tough it out” and fight through things when they shouldn’t. They tend to not mention things that are hurting or wrong with them because that’s seen as a sign of weakness. Well guess what, it’s not. So you as parents know your children better than anyone else, if you notice differences in their gait, behavior, or energy level, just ask and prod more than normal to see if there is a problem that they’re experiencing with their practices and athletics.

Have fun!

–    Dr. Brent Shealer – Monroeville, Penn Hills, Pittsburgh Chiropractor

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