Kids seem to have boundless physical energy that can become a cause for concern for parents. This is especially true for kids who are engaged in one or two active sports, such as soccer, basketball and baseball, where the risk for injury increases.
The question then that parents ask themselves: How much physical activity is too much? There’s no simple and single answer since each child has unique needs and wants in physical exercise.
Parents must then watch out for signs of exhaustion, injury and illness in their kids so that appropriate actions can be made. These can include stopping the child’s involvement in the sports, if only temporarily, while rest and recovery from the underlying illness or injury are made.
Watch for Signs of Burnout
Children typically know the limits of their physical energy and, thus, they will stop when they’re tired. But the exhaustion will likely set in when training for organized sports enter the picture. Kids can push themselves beyond their physical limits due to peer and coach pressure, among other factors, especially when a high-stakes game is coming up.
You, the parent, must then exercise vigilance in monitoring your child’s overall health. You have to look for signs of burnout, such as when your child seems ill, injured, or exhausted, although your child may say otherwise. You will also likely see that your child doesn’t seem to recover fully from his training sessions and games.
Yet another sign of burnout: Your child actually loses interest in the physical activities he used to enjoy. Your child is, literally and figuratively, sick and tired.
Your best course of action: You have to talk to his coach about his condition. You may also want him to rest for a few days, take him to his doctor, and adjust his schedule to allow for recovery.
Encourage Mixing of Activities
Children, like adults, need different types of physical activities to minimize the risks of injuries and maximize the chances for staying healthy. You must then encourage your child to mix other types of activities into his daily routine, such as basketball on certain days and baseball on other days.
This is also true for mixing the three types of exercise – aerobic exercises, muscle strengthening exercises, and flexibility exercises. You may consider bringing them to a family-friendly gym, such as American Family Fitness, where they can be exposed to these types of exercise. You can think of it as a bonding activity, too.
Of course, you should be a role model in exercise for your kids. It’s the best way to instill in them safe and effective habits in physical exercise.