Playing sports is great exercise for adults, kids, and families alike. Unfortunately, sports injuries can also be part of the game, especially for children. Here’s how you and your family can play it safe and prevent sports injuries.
It’s been said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and that’s certainly true when it comes to avoiding sports injuries.
Always wear helmets, pads, and any other protective gear necessary (some sports require more safety gear than others). The gear you need will vary widely from sport to sport, and you may even need to have multiple types of the same piece of equipment for different activities. A bike helmet is different from a football helmet.
Protective gear is important, but so is all of the other gear you might use. Properly fitted shoes will keep feet and legs happy, for example.
You should never jump right into a sport or game without properly warming up, no matter how tempting it may be. It’s a vital injury prevention technique that’s beneficial regardless of the sport being played. Try some jumping jacks, squat jumps, and dynamic stretches to get your blood pumping and your muscles ready to play.
Kids and teens may be tempted to rush right into the game, but you should also explain the importance of warming up to your children. You can even turn the warm-up into a fun game or activity all on its own.
In many ways, avoiding sports injuries starts in the kitchen. An athlete’s diet should be filled with whole foods like fruit and veggies, plus lean protein to fuel growing muscles. Whether you’re feeding yourself, your children, or the entire family, proper nutrition will keep moving bodies in working order.
According to Dr. R. Jay Lee, the sport being played also matters, “In sports like wrestling, where extra importance is put on an athlete’s weight, parents also need to make sure their athletes are following safe eating habits.”
Similarly, water consumption deserves a mention. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after playing any sport, and increase consumption when it’s hotter outside to avoid illnesses related to dehydration.