Back to school means back to the playing fields for area student-athletes. Successful athletes are those who put in the prep time. That prep time should include taking the steps needed to stay healthy during a long season.
Michelle Strickland, M.D., Floyd physician, specializes in treating student-athletes. She offers the following tips to have a healthy season:
Hydrate, Before and After
Dehydration can lead to body fatigue, and possibly heat-related illness. Athletes should stay hydrated throughout the school day, not just during activity. Water and sports drinks can rapidly replace fluids lost in sweat. Remember, caffeine and sugar can actually lead to dehydration, so it is always good to avoid sodas.
Get Enough Rest
The National Sleep Foundation suggests that children in K-12th grade get at least 9 ½ hours of sleep a night. Sleep helps increase daily energy, accelerates the ability to recover from stress and boosts the immune system. The more rest an athlete gets, the better he or she will perform.
Eating healthy begins in the morning. A good breakfast helps athletes recoup energy lost overnight and brings blood sugar back to a healthy level, which helps with schoolwork and sports. During the day, proteins and complex carbs, such as green vegetables, whole grains and potatoes will fuel the body. For snacks, high-carb, low fat treats like granola bars, trail mix and energy bars are great options.
Protective gear is there to do just that, protect. Make sure to wear proper equipment, even during practice. Mouth guards, eye protection and appropriate shoes are as important as helmets and shoulder pads.
Sports are supposed to be fun. The daily grind of going to work will come soon enough. Make sure to enjoy a sport for what it is, a game.
For back to school sports physicals, parents can contact a
Floyd physician who treats children.