Here are three exercises that every parent should know to prevent sports injuries in their children
Parents are left on the side lines or at home when it comes to kids and sports programs. We can only hope that the coaches and staff along with our children are equipped with the knowledge to prevent injuries. This article is intended to empower parents to give their children some excellent preventive injury exercises for soccer, baseball, basketball, and football.
One-legged squats to prevent sprains
Sprains are by far the most common injury in children and adults and also one of the easiest to prevent. What happens during a sprain is that there is a delay in communication between the foot’s proprioceptors, which are nerves that let the foot know where it is in time and space. The slightest delay can be the difference between a successful practice and months of pain and swelling.
Luckily for us there is one super easy warm-up exercise that has been proven to reduce sprains in all sports with sudden stops and direction changes. The exercise is a one legged squat. I know, it sounds too simple to be true, but what the one legged squat does it awakens those proprioceptors in the feet by making the brain aware of what imbalance feels like and how to adapt to it.
When doing the one legged squat have your child play with having the foot in front or behind the leg to make it more engaging. After a warm up jog have your child do this as part of the stretching routine and have them do 10 on each leg. People are usually amazed to see how one side is always a lot easier than the other side which can really show a real need to do this exercise.
Reach for the sun to prevent shin splints
This exercise strengthens the muscles on the outside of your child’s shins to prevent shin splints.
Have your child stretch their arms way above their head – reaching for the sun! Do this for 3 sets of 15 times each set.
Jump rope to prevent shin splints and muscle strains
If your child is new to sports or is about to start an intensive program you should be concerned that it will create shin splints– especially in running sports. What happens with shin splints is the muscles develop and are stretched too quickly causing the muscles to agitate the bone.
To prevent this for happening tell your kids to reach for the sky and get on their tippy toes. This exercise is called the heel lift. The heel lift is simple enough to do, but a little hard for some kids to remember to do it, especially since it doesn’t feel like a fun exercise. If this the case, there is a bit of a hack that not only helps warm the child up, but also strengthens the other muscles in the legs and hips which is Jump rope.
Have your child jump rope in place or in addition to their warm up jog, introduce different type of ways to jump rope such as one legged, feet together, side-to-side, etc for a more complete exercise. As an added bonus jumping rope also helps those in racket sports strengthen their gripes and wrist preventing strained wrists.
With just these two exercises your child will have the enhanced balance receptors, and will strengthen their legs and shins to prevent the most common injuries that happen out on the playing field. Best of luck and good health!