Back to School, Back to Sport
It is that time of year again. The weeks of summer are winding down. Not only does that mean school
will be starting, but it also means it is time to begin fall sports. It is extremely important for our children to be prepared to take the forces and demands of returning to sporting activities. If our bodies are not ready for the increased demand, they may begin to compensate from fatigue. These compensations can cause increased muscle and joint pain and then lead to damage and injury. Help your children to succeed by encouraging pre-season exercise!
Below are a few ways to have your child begin to prepare for returning to sport:
Walking and/or running: Many fall sports involve LOTS of running, which then requires LOTS of endurance. Make this increase gradual so not to put too much strain on muscles and joints all at the same time. To make it fun, run/jog to a nearby park or store and then walk back. There are also lots of bike trails in the area that are great.
Core strengthening: Our core is the center of our bodies. It is important for this to be strong as it greatly helps support and control the movements in our arms and legs.
Complete sit ups or planks. When doing planks, be sure to keep shoulders down and back, squeezed together, instead of shrugged up towards your neck. This is more difficult, but it is better for postural muscles.
There are also fun ways to increase core strength. For example, use a water balloon as a weighted ball. One way to use it is to pass a ball overhead to a partner and then retrieve it from between your legs. Have a competition to see who can pass the ball more times.
Stretching: Daily stretching can help decrease chance for injury, such as muscle strains.
Balance/Coordination: Slowly begin to practice drills to increase balance and coordination. Ladder drills are a great way to do this. You do not need a ladder to do this! Use chalk to draw a ladder on the driveway. Have the kids take turns making patterns with their feet or jumping. Have their friends/siblings mimic that pattern.
Please realize that an athlete cannot start a season where they left off the last season, without work in between. They need to gradually get back to that point. Once the children are back at their sport’s practices, often times the coaches do not take the time to do general conditioning and strengthening. The focus is primarily on playing the game and making good plays. For this reason, we want to set our children up to succeed by having their bodies ready. Get ahead of the curve of the other athletes and begin preparing NOW. If you feel your child needs assistance with preparing or once the season is started, please contact a physical therapist. At Synergy, we are excited to help those who want to increase their strength, and ensure that their bodies are completing tasks appropriately to reduce risk for injury. We hope your children have a fun and safe season!