Summertime means thousands of American children are honing their pitching skills on baseball mounds throughout the land. But as always, it is important to start a new sports or fitness regime with plenty of warm-up and cool-down exercises, stretching, appropriate strength-training, and to not go overboard too quickly. Also, having long breaks from playing a given competitive sport in the course of a year helps decrease the risk of repetitive-use injuries.
Insufficient strength training, combined with bad form, can result in “Little League shoulder,” an overuse injury from repetitive overhead ball-throwing, especially pitching. The condition produces shoulder pain, swelling and decreased ability to move the arm — and doctors are seeing it more frequently nowadays.
We know that adults can improve their concentration and help guard against memory loss as they age, when they get regular exercise. Similarly, a new study found that kids may gain cognitive benefits from being physically fit, as well.
Researchers at the University of Illinois found that children who are in better physical shape tend to have better language skills than their lesser fit peers. The brains of the fitter kids responded faster and more strongly during reading, which translated into better reading performance and comprehension.
Doctors believe that we are in the middle of asthma and allergy epidemics, as the numbers of children and adults who suffer from these conditions continue to grow, with no concrete explanations for the increases. Asthma is now the leading chronic (or ongoing) illness in children. More than 1 in 10 American kids now have asthma. While it can start at any age, most children have had their first symptoms by age 5.
The causes of asthma appear to be varied. While the condition is a mystery to many doctors, some health professionals believe that more children are getting asthma nowadays because they’re being more exposed to air pollution and other toxic chemicals.
With all the sugar and toxic chemicals in sodas, we should be pleased to know that children are drinking fewer caffeinated sodas these days. A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that children, teens and young adults have decreased their caffeinated-soda consumption considerably: in 1999, 62 percent of kids to young adults named caffeinated sodas as their main source of caffeine. By 2010, that number had decreased to 38 percent.
But there is bad news: youths are now consuming more energy drinks and coffee than they were in 1999, with coffee consumption more than doubling since then.
How to Prevent Overuse Injuries in Your Young Child or Teenager
The benefits of participating in sports for school-age children are almost too many to count: sports help keep children healthy, trim, away from drugs; they help children develop social skills, discipline, a sense of fair play, self-esteem, and so on.
When it comes to food, the great thing about it is that we all have very similar nutritional needs: for the most part, what’s good for one person is good for everyone, and what’s bad for one person is bad for all.
Some people, including a lot of the experts, would have us believe that we need to go on special diets to suit our individual needs; but while that approach might make a lot of people in the diet and nutrition business wealthy, the truth is that our personal physiologies are much more similar to everyone else’s than they are different.