Keeping Athletic Kids Healthy & Fit

In today's age of health and fitness, more and more kids are involved in sporting activities. Although being part of a football, soccer or Little League team is an important rite of passage for many kids, parents and their children could be overlooking the importance of proper nutrition and body conditioning needed for preventing injuries on and off the playing field.

"The majority, if not all, sports are good, provided that the child prepares appropriately," says Dr. Carl Heigl, president of the American Chiropractic Association's Council on Sports Injuries and Physical Fitness. "Without proper preparation, playing any sport can turn into a bad experience. There are structural and physical developmental issues that need to be taken into consideration before children undertake certain sports."

Highly competitive sports such as football, gymnastics and wrestling follow rigorous training schedules that can be potentially dangerous to an adolescent or teenager.

The best advice for parents who have young athletes in the family is to help them prepare their bodies and to learn to protect themselves from sports-related injuries before they happen.

"Proper warm up, stretching and weight-lifting exercises are essential for kids involved in sports, but many kids learn improper stretching or weight-lifting techniques, making them more susceptible to injury," says Dr. Steve Horwitz. "Parents need to work with their kids and make sure they receive the proper sports training."

"Young athletes should begin with a slow jog to warm up the legs and arms and stretch all the major muscle groups," says Dr. Horwitz. "Kids involved in football, baseball, gymnastics and swimming should develop a routine that includes strengthening exercises for the abdomen, the low-back muscles, arms and shoulders."

Proper nutrition and hydration are also extremely vital. "A student athlete may need to drink eight to ten 8-ounce glasses of water for proper absorption. Breakfast should be the most important meal of the day. Also, eating a healthy meal before and after practice or a game allows for proper replenishment and refuels the body," adds Dr. Horwitz.

Young athletes today often think they are invincible. The following tips can help ensure your child does not miss a step when it comes to proper fitness, stretching, training and rest that the body needs to engage in sporting activities.

Encourage your child to:

  • Wear the proper equipment. Certain contact sports, such as football and hockey, can be dangerous if the equipment is not properly fitted. Make sure all items of equipment— including helmets, pads, and shoes— fit your child or adolescent. Talk to your child's coach or trainer if the equipment is damaged.
  • Eat healthy meals. Make sure your young athlete is eating a well-balanced diet and does not skip meals. Avoid high-fat foods, such as candy bars and fast food. At home, provide fruit rather than cookies, and vegetables rather than potato chips.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Certain sports, such as gymnastics, wrestling and figure skating, require your young athlete to follow strict dietary rules. Be sure your child does not feel pressured into being too thin and that he/she understands proper nutrition and caloric intake is needed for optimal performance and endurance.
  • Drink water. Hydration is a key element to optimal fitness. Teenage athletes should drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Younger athletes should drink five to eight 8-ounce glasses of water.
  • Drink milk. Make sure your child has enough calcium included in his/her diet. ACA recommends 1 percent or skim milk for children over 2 years old rather than whole milk because of its high fat content. The calcium in milk is essential for healthy bones and reduces the risk of joint-and muscle- related injuries.
  • Avoid sugar-loaded, caffeinated and carbonated drinks. Sports drinks are a good source of replenishment for those kids engaged in long-duration sports, such as track and field.
  • Follow a warm-up routine. Be sure your child or his/her coach includes a warm-up and stretching session before every practice, game or meet. A slow jog, jumping rope and/or lifting small weights reduces the risk of torn or ripped muscles. Flexibility becomes a preventive key when pushing to score that extra goal or make that critical play.
  • Take vitamins daily. A multi-vitamin and Vitamin C are good choices for the young athlete. Vitamin B and amino acids may help reduce the pain from contact sports. Thiamine can help promote healing. Also consider Vitamin A to strengthen scar tissue.
  • Avoid trendy supplements. Kids under the age of 18 should avoid the use of performance-enhanced supplements, such as creatine. Instead, they should ask their coach or trainer to include weekly weight-training and body-conditioning sessions in their workout.
  • Get plenty of rest. Eight hours of sleep is ideal for the young athlete. Lack of sleep and rest can catch up with the athlete and decrease performance. Sluggishness, irritability and loss of interest could indicate that your child is fatigued.

Office Hours

Monday:

8:00 am-4:00 pm

Tuesday:

8:00 am-4:00 pm

Wednesday:

8:00 am-4:00 pm

Thursday:

Closed

Friday:

8:00 am-2:00 pm

Saturday:

Closed

Sunday:

Closed

Testimonials

  • "Regular visits with Dr. Roeder have significantly reduced the frequency of migraines I have suffered and the amount of neck and shoulder pain I have lived with for years. Because of Dr. Roeder I am able to focus on my busy life again"
    S.L., San Diego
  • "This was my first encounter with a chiropractor and found the experience to be delightful, gratifying and well worth it! Instead of being given a bunch of pills and told to come back next week, the manipulation for my back and side injuries including carpal tunnel syndrome, responded very well to the treatments. Thank you, Dr. Roeder for a job well done"
    W.B., San Diego
  • "I came in originally for neck pain, but getting adjusted helped lower my blood pressure & my insulin levels too.Dr. Roeder is so thorough in her care-I never knew how much better I could feel.I no longer have to take blood pressure medicine now."
    A.W., San Diego
  • "Since meeting Dr. Roeder at a health seminar, she has changed my life, drastically-improving my health 100%. I had a wide range of symptoms, including chronic fatigue, constant and severe headaches, body aches, nausea, difficulty concentrating and I felt extremely tired and weak. She diagnosed me with having Fibromyalgia and Candida. She put me on an anti-inflammatory diet and started me on chiropractic treatment and instructed me on strength exercises. I have lost 40 lbs and feel fantastic! Whenever I eat something that sets off a symptom, I can identify the food source now. I know how to eat well and stay away from foods that cause inflammation. Had it not been for Dr. Roeder's expert care, I believe I would still be suffering from all those symptoms-- instead I feel fantastic!"
    M.O., Spring Valley
  • "My son was diagnosed at a very young age with Hyperkyphosis. The doctor told us that surgery would be his only option but we needed to wait until he got older.My husband and I were heartbroken to think about such a major surgery for our little boy.We wanted to help him anyway we could without doing surgery. We are so thrilled to say that after seeing Dr. Roeder my son's back has made a major improvement.That there is a stronger chance that he may not need surgery after all.My son is three now and he is a very active little boy and you can't even tell that he had ever had a bad back.He is able to do what all little boys do:run, jump and climb!Taking my son to Dr. Roeder was the best decision that me and my husband have made as parents.I am so happy that Dr. Roeder is part of our lives.In fact all of my extended family members are patients of her too!Thank you so much Dr. Roeder for all of your help.You have been such a positive part of our lives.You are part of our family."
    G.C., San Diego
  • "My daughter has been diagnosed with Von Willabrand's and Precocious Puberty at age 7. She had her first period at age 8, and it was for three days. The doctors said that her hormone levels were off and there wasn't any truly safe treatment. After talking to Dr. Roeder, she started chiropractic care to help her body cope better with this disorder and hopefully change her hormones. Now my daughter and I have been told by doctors at Children's Hospital that it looks like she won't be starting her period until two years from now-this will be the normal time when she should start! They told us to keep up the good work of whatever we have been doing because it seems to be working."
    J.H., San Diego
  • "I got treated for a neck and back injury that appeared to be chronic following a major car accident. I had been to chiropractors before but without much success.After seeing Dr. Roeder now though, my mobility and general feeling of well-being has greatly improved."
    C.H., San Diego
  • "Dr. Roeder was recommended by a friend and I am completely satisfied. I was having low back pain also some neck pain. My back feels better than it has in years. I feel Dr. Roeder is complete in recommending exercising and treatment!"
    M.L., San Diego
  • "I just wanted to say thank you for making me 'new' again. Also, for helping us through our tough times. You always have been nice to us and helpful when we were in your office-it was just like a second home! Every time I walked through the door I felt calm and relaxed. You always asked us how we were doing and how we have been. I thought that was very thoughtful and caring of you-especially considering that awful car accident we had been in. None of my doctors before had been as courteous as you. You have really made a bad experience into a great experience in a blink of an eye. I always loved that EVERYONE was always smiling! I wish that when I grow up I can be like you, always making people happy and feel better! Well, I think that you just made another patient happy because of your wonderful 'magic.' Oh and I know I already said this but I think I am speaking for everyone when I say: Thank you Dr. Roeder!"
    J.F., San Diego (pediatric patient)