There is a lot of running around, eating on the go, missing meals, mental stress, physical strain, and interrupted sleep routines when sports are in full gear!
So how we can support our kids who are in sports anytime of year?
Here are five ways you can keep your child thriving through the busy seasons:
1. Hydration: Dehydration causes fatigue, sluggishness, constipation, inability to properly detox, headaches, muscle aches, and leaves kids prone to injury. Have your child start their day with a cup of water before they run off to school. Send them with a water bottle for at school, and even an extra if they don't have a healthy clean source of water to refill during the day or after school during practice. Keep water in your vehicle as well so they always have a refill or a new bottle while you are on the run. You would be surprised at how much your child will drink when they have the time to actually sit and realize they are thirsty.
If the weather is a scorcher be sure the kids have electrolytes as well. Electrolytes are minerals the body needs to balance fluid inside and outside of cells. They also help muscles contract, hence why if the body looses too many electrolytes through excessive sweating and urination, one can develop muscle cramps. This is certainly not what your die hard player wants to have during game time.
When it comes to replacing electrolytes, you can offer foods that contain electrolytes to support balance or you can opt for an electrolyte packet to add to their water. The amount depends on the child's weight, age, and of course the intensity of the workout. You should also take into consideration the heat and how much they are sweating. Ask your health provider how much of an electrolyte packet or what amount your child can safely have as a supplement. Note that each electrolyte powder may vary in electrolytes in contains and dose. Some also contain magnesium while some do not.
Another way you can replace lost electrolytes is simply by offering a variety of foods that contain some of the electrolytes that may be depleted. A combination of these foods could look like sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, bananas, avocados, dill pickles, and chicken.
Here is one more great combination of foods that can help your child keep electrolyte balance on game days which includes oranges, nectarines, almonds, cashews, dark chocolate, salmon, and kiwi. There are also two that stand at the top to be brought with on game day, that hydrate and replace electrolytes, and those are watermelon and cucumbers.
Try to avoid sports drinks that contain artificial dyes and sweeteners, or tons of sugar. Read the label and see how much sugar is in each serving so you know ahead of time as often kids will make multiple trips to the soda machine in one game day. This allows you to be sure they aren't filling with sugar alone, but also have room for the healthy foods that help them build energy, muscle, and immunity to be to be at their best.
Want more ways to keep your child hydrated during summer? Click Here!
2. Foods that Nourish Athletes: When it comes to daily health, we all know that diet is everything. The problem is though, there are unhealthy foods every angle your child turns. In order to get the healthy foods that fuel your child's muscles and elevate energy and performance in, you must fill them with healthy foods so they avoid the processed short term fillers that contain barely any protein or nutrients. Foods high in protein take longer to digest which leaves your child feeling fuller longer. Processed sugary foods will not sustain energy and can add a huge sugar spike with unwanted side effects.
A breakfast high in protein is a great way to start the day, and high protein snacks to offer throughout the day are a fabulous option, especially when sided with a side of watermelon or cucumbers. Grass fed beef sticks are usually a win for kids of all ages. Wild caught salmon sticks are a favorite for some as well! Sandwiches with a combination of lettuce, cucumbers, spinach, turkey, chicken, and cheese make for a great lunch on the go.
Fruits and foods high in vitamin C are also a great choice to send with or offer your child since they are exposed to many other kids, and their germs, many days of the week. We all know some kids will push through anything just to make it to the game to play, irregardless of how they feel. So serve up your high vitamin C foods like oranges, strawberries, and bell peppers to keep their immune health elevated so they make it to game day!
Want to learn how to use food as medicine in one quick read? Click Here!
3. Stretch It Out: It's easy for kids to run at full speeds ahead, lift heavy weights, and do exhausting workouts... but it isn't easy for them to sit still and stretch. They need reminders. The best way to get your kids to do a good stretch before and after practice and games, is to do it with them. Stretching doesn't just stretch muscles to help prevent injury, it also moves lymph. Your lymphatic system can be thought of as your bodies drainage system, kind of like a plumbing system. It is a group of organs, vessles, and tissues that move a clear fluid (called lymph) back into the bloodstream. The lymphatic system serves the body by helping it remove foreign invaders and balance fluid levels. If this system isn't able to move fluidly, then the body cannot properly detox. You can now see how stretching with your child can have a positive effect on your body as well.
When it comes to getting a good stretch in, breathing plays a crucial role in how well the muscle stretch is. Be sure your child is not holding there breath or taking short fast breaths while stretching. Stretching should be a calm and slow process to reduce risk of injury. It helps to take note that you and your child are breathing slowly, trying to focus on letting the muscle relax through the stretch. When you exhale, you should notice the muscle your stretching relax a bit and ease more into the stretch.
4. Mindfulness: Being a team player takes a lot of mindset focus. This focus comes to kids at all different ages and on all different levels. Irregardless of your child's age, practicing mindfulness throughout the season will be extremely helpful for your child to not only perform, but also to cope with emotions. There are several ways your child can calm the mind to focus including meditation, quiet walks, spending time in nature, taking breaks to just lay and rest in between games, quiet time, reading a book, etc. This mindful time can be daily or multiple times a day, especially in between games if the day is full. The purpose and main goal are to allow your child time decompress, regain focus, and balance emotions. Mindful time also rids negative energy which can majorly disrupt performance.
5. Natural Remedies that Support Muscle Relaxation: Repetitive motions and muscle use of the same muscles can be hard on ones body. Tight muscles can cause other muscles to have to work harder, causing further tension down the line. It works like dominos. Keeping your focus on nourishing your child and using natural remedies to support muscle relaxation and increase circulation can help with performance and help to prevent future strain or injury.
Two natural therapies that can help ease tight muscles are massage and cupping. The options these days for home massagers are everywhere and in every shape and size. Choosing a massager would depend on your kiddos preference, the muscles needing to be massaged, and their willingness to use it. Most massage therapists will also perform chair massages for the kid that doesn't likes to be on the go and can't rest for long periods of time. Often massage therapist also know how to perform cupping of the muscles, which is a great way to increase circulation to the area of a sore muscle and promote healing. If your massage therapist does not perform cupping, often one who specialized in acupressure or acupuncture therapy will have it offered in their services.
Using a blend of essential oils such as Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), Roman Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis), German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita), Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), and Peppermint (Mentha piperita) applied before and after practice or games can be extremely beneficial to again, promote circulation to the muscle, move fluid, ease muscle tension and aches, and help calm tight overworked muscles. **Be sure the essential oil blend is properly diluted in a kid safe dilution ratio and the essential oils are kid safe per your child's age and health profile.**
Want more tips on safe essential oil use for kids? Click Here!
You are helping your little or big athlete out in so many ways by nourishing their bodies inside and out!
If you want to excel in your athletes healthy routines and natural remedies, Click Here to Book a Wellness Session to get the support, guidance, and resources you need to help your child thrive!
Wishing your athletes health, wellness, and a fabulous season!
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Jamie Michaels, Natural Wellness Educator & Founder of Children's Wellness Tree
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