Keep Kids Active and Injury Free
Updated: Sep 6
Physical activity and exercise are essential for the health and wellbeing of children. It supports their growth and development. It stimulates healthy bone and muscle growth, helps develop healthy cardiovascular and neurological systems. Sport has so many benefits, however with the benefits come some risks. Sport is the leading cause of childhood injuries, with 50% of these being preventable. Some injuries are minor like scrapes and bruises and some are more serious.
With 50% of childhood sporting injuries being preventable it is important to understand the risk factors related to these injuries and recognise injuries early and seek appropriate treatment. Keeping kids active and participating in sport and recreational activities is so important.
There are many ways to help reduce the risk of injuries in children
Playing multiple sports
Encouraging kids to play multiple sports is one way of helping reduce injury risk. Playing multiple sports also has many other benefits.
promotes positive youth development
children learn more sport skills
develops more creative players
helps prevent early burnout
increases pattern recall skills
decreases dropout rates
promotes intrinsic regulation
REDUCES RISK OF INJURY
improves cognitive skills
improves decision making skills
develops sport confidence
physical and cognitive abilities may develop quicker
early sport diversification is linked to a longer sport career
It is recommended that children accumulate 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per day. Downtime is equally as important. Recovery and relaxation help to restore the body and brain, which is vital in the growing child. Low stimulus activities and enough sleep need to be placed into the schedule of the busy child. Adequate rest and recovery can also help aid performance and prevent injuries. Rest and recovery are a performance secret weapon.
Warm up properly
Soccer introduced the FIFA 11+ for Kids warm up that was scientifically developed to reduce the occurrence and severity of injuries in children. And it worked. It may have been designed with soccer in mind, however it is important for all young active children to warm up for sport. A warm up that is gradual, dynamic and with a focus on movement control and co-ordination.
Each sport has different requirements so each warm up needs to be specific to the sport. It needs to be purposeful. Each child moves differently and a warm up can be an important opportunity to address movement control issues.
Nutritional intake and ensuring a balanced diet is incredibly important for the active growing child. Having a good diet can increase performance, energy levels, reduce risk of diseases, and benefit bone and muscle health.
Winning is a bonus
Winning is awesome. Unfortunately the pressure to win can cause significant stress to a child, which can have many adverse effects such as early retirements from a sport and of course increase the risk of injury. The main goal of sport should be to have fun and learn lifelong skills. Young athletes should be judged on hard work, effort and sportsmanship.
Focusing on skill development, hard work and of course fun will help create strong, resilient and life long sports people. Winning isn't everything. Though it is a nice bonus.
Being active is important for all ages. If we can get children interested and injury free at a young age, they are more likely to stay interested and be life long exercisers.
The Movement Workshop Physios at South Melbourne are trained to assess and treat musculoskeletal conditions in children. Additionally, we have many contacts to pediatric physicians, podiatrists, dietitians and other trusted healthcare workers for referral if indicated. We even run kids strength and rehabilitation classes in our Pilates Studio. For more information, please feel free to reach out.