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Keeping Kids Safe In Sports

With the arrival of September, many children head back to school and to the soccer field, track or volleyball court. This is the time of year when we start to see a surge in sports-related injuries in kids. But heeding some common-sense tips can help you keep your child injury-free.

Be sure your kids are in condition before they engage in any vigorous sports activities. That means they should be shoring up their endurance through 20 to 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity that increases their heart rate, at least several times a week. An added bonus is that setting this as a goal now will serve them well as they enter adulthood, by developing good health habits that last a lifetime.

Strength training in children is not advisable, since pre-teen boys and girls have just not developed to the point where this will be of benefit. Light weights for conditioning purposes are acceptable, but girls under 14 and boys under 16 should avoid ‘power lifting’ to bulk up their muscles.

Kids should also be sure to stretch their muscles before any exercise, especially the ones that will be worked during sports activity. Football players and runners should be sure to stretch their quadriceps and calves. Swimmers, volleyball and baseball players may want to add arm and upper chest stretches to their pre-game routine.

Encouraging physical activity is one of the most important ways parents can help their kids stay healthy. By stressing these pre-game measures, you can help keep your child on the playing field.