While your little all-star may be taking a slight break from sports at the moment, they will surely be eager to pick up where they left off as soon as they can. As such, they may be in the midst of a little at-home off-season training. Whether they are competing or not, it’s important to keep fitness and nutrition as a top priority for any child engaging in athletic activities. For optimal health and athletic performance, here are some tips for keeping your young athlete healthy.
Hydration is key
When it comes to keeping your young athlete healthy, hydration is key. In addition to drinking plenty of water during exercise, your athlete should also be drinking plenty of water before and after training. As such, its important encourage your athlete to drink water all throughout the day.
For training sessions that last under an hour, water should be their drink of choice. However, for longer sessions that last an hour or more, sports drinks that can help replace lost electrolytes may be beneficial. Staying hydrated is especially important for athletes as doing so will help replace water lost through sweating, reduce muscle fatigue, and decrease their risk of injury.
Ensure they’re eating enough calories
When children with fast metabolisms engage in strenuous athletic activity, it is common for them to lose weight—sometimes to an unhealthy level. As a child, being underweight can have negative repercussions, such as a weakened immune system, malnutrition, anemia, or vitamin deficiencies.
To prevent your child from becoming underweight while engaging in sports, it’s important to ensure that they are eating enough calories. Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple one-size-fits-all plan when determining a healthy calorie intake for your child. The amount of calories they will need to eat to stay healthy will depend on several factors, such as their age, their body size, the intensity of their training, and the sport they play. Because there are so many aspects to consider, talking to a professional in sports dietetics to create an individualized plan may be beneficial.
Avoid putting too much pressure on them
As parents, it’s natural to want to see your child succeed in everything they do—including sports. However, putting too much pressure on your little athlete to achieve athletic success can negatively impact their health.
Too much stress doesn’t just take some of the enjoyment out of sports; it can also lead to negative health effects, such as high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, fatigue, and anxiety. In addition, the pressure to succeed can also cause children to push themselves too hard. As a result, they may experience sports-related injuries.