Even though it’s still winter, that doesn’t mean muscles get to go into hibernation. Keyur Desai, M.D., a primary care sports medicine physician at Children’s National Hospital, explains that even during the off season, your kids need to start conditioning now for spring sports to reduce their risk of injury. If you and your child are looking for ways to slowly get back into a routine, here are some tips.
1. Evaluate the body for any existing pains or long-standing injuries.
We put a lot of strain on the body, and sometimes are unaware of when it needs a break. Get an honest evaluation by mimicking the sport your child will be playing and seeing if they experience any pains in their muscles and joints. If the answer is yes, your child should see a sports medicine physician to be evaluated, so they can work toward alleviating this pain.
2. Work into the season slowly and prioritize agility training.
Agility training improves flexibility, balance and control. Agility helps the body to maintain proper alignment and posture during movement. Additionally, agility drills encourage our body to learn how to maintain correct body placement. This is beneficial for any sport and is simple to incorporate into an existing routine.
3. Know the demands of the spring sport, and work that into a warmup.
Like agility training, warming up is a great way to create that mind muscle connection. For example, if your child is running track this spring, a good warm-up should target the hips, knees and ankles. This could include leg swings, high knees, opening the gate and many other exercises. This will get their body into the habit of doing this action and wake up their muscles.
Remember that spring sports may have different requirements and put a strain on the body your child may not be used to. Conditioning the body in advance is a great way to prevent injury and make the most of the season!