Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post however all opinions are my own. UnitedHealthcare is not affiliated with the interview subject in this piece, or his employer.
It’s that time of year. You know when things are beyond busy and we’re running from work, to school, to soccer or dance, then back home for homework and dinner. Juggling parenting with after school activities and home life can be tricky, especially when you want to keep your kids as healthy as possible. And when your kids play sports there’s an added worry, we don’t want our kids to get hurt. But how do you keep them injury-free?
It can happen in the blink of an eye; a twisted ankle, a strained muscle, cramps, or even a broken limb. But there are ways to keep our kids safe when playing sports. And I was surprised to learn some of these tips are pretty simple from Bill Foran, a certified strength and conditioning specialist who just happens to be the man in charge of the Miami HEAT’s physical fitness training.
A former Elementary Physical Education Teacher, Foran has been with the Miami HEAT for 25 years and trained athletes like Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, Shaquille O’Neal, and Ray Allen. He now shares his tips for parents to keep kids injury-free on the field and in life!
keep kids injury-free with 5 tips from an nba strength coach
1. Play Matters – Bill told me, “Kids have got to be well-rounded and need to play lots of sports, and be active away from the specific sport. When I was a kid we would play outside for hours and hours. Play is important and needs to be involved everyday, things like running, jumping, climbing, bike riding, they need to develop their muscles naturally. A lot of kids in this day and age are into the the video games, iPads, and they sit and their only activity is when they play their sport. If that’s all they do, then their body isn’t physically ready to play sports, so getting more play time can actually help prevent injuries.”
2. Cut Sugar – It’s safe to say Foran is not a fan of sugar. “One of the biggest problems with kids is sugar, you can see it when they wake up and have sugary cereal for breakfast. It’s like our society is addicted to sugar, they want more and more and it does nothing for their energy. Not to mention their mental focus drops off quickly. You’ve got to feed young athletes healthy foods and cut back on sugar, you will see a huge difference not only on the field but in the classroom too.”
3. Hydration is Key – It’s not surprising to hear that young athletes need more water. “Hydration is so important, most young kids live in a dehydrated state. They’re not getting enough water. What they drink in soda and fruit juices is sugar. If they can learn to enjoy water makes a huge difference. I always say start them drinking water as soon as they wake up, and they’ll feel a huge difference and will help prevent cramping.” If you are having a hard time getting water into your kids, read this. And if you’re not sure of the proper amounts per age, here is a great guide.
4. Hold Off On Weight Training – Do your kids want to work out with you? Ours too! But it’s not necessarily safe until they are the appropriate age. “A good age is middle school where they can start doing weight training and it makes a difference physically. I’ve seen young athletes make big changes with weight training. It’s got to be done correctly though, they need proper technique. If it’s a weight they can handle, have them do 10 reps with proper technique, that’s a good weight. If they use too much weight, they lose form and can easily get hurt. Additionally, if they engage in weight training they have to make sure the body is balance. So if they do push-ups and no pulling exercise, that will cause a muscular imbalance and lead to injury.”
5. Get Their ZZZZ’s – When our little athletes work hard, their bodies need rest too. But most kids aren’t getting the proper amount of sleep each night. “Sleep is a huge problem in our society and the number one thing for growth and recovery. Most athletes are not getting enough sleep, and they need it, especially after exercise.” Here’s a chart of how many hours of sleep kids need per age.
make sure you’re covered
Bottom line we need to put our kid’s health first if they are to succeed in anything in life, including sports. But no matter what we do, we can’t shield them from accidents. Sometimes injuries happen, and when they do we need to be covered. That’s why having the best health insurance is so important for families. UnitedHealthcare is a great choice because of their innovative tools and resources.
Can’t get to a doctor? They have virtual visits! Need to ask a question of a nurse? There’s a 24 hour nurse hotline. There’s even a mobile app to help you on the go when you need healthcare information. UnitedHealthcare can also help you understand the right plan to purchase for your family by participating in new activities and sweepstakes!
Sometimes healthcare terminology can be confusing, and UnitedHealthcare wants people to feel confident in knowing what they’re buying when it comes time to purchase a plan. So they’ve introduced two fun and interactive sweepstakes where you can win $100 weekly or $500 monthly on their website!
- Crossword Puzzle: What’s the Word runs until November 30th, and is a fun interactive crossword puzzle. It’s a terminology game where viewers can fill in the correct word in the puzzle for the definition that it matches. Please go to the UnitedHealthcare site and complete the puzzle. When you finish, you will be entered to win a prize!
- Are You a Health Plan Pro?: This contest also runs until November 30th, and is a little more involved. It has four stages including:
- A UnitedHealthcare quiz to test your knowledge of terminology.
- A fun match game that teaches you all about health plan accounts like the HSA. FSA, and HRA that can help you afford those visits.
- A slider tool to decipher the difference between out-of-pocket costs and premiums.
- Lastly, You may be wasting money by going to the ER when you could just be going to Urgent Care or using Virtual Visits through your health plan. Figure out which services are most or least expensive by ranking them yourself!
Once finished, your name and email will be entered to win a prize! This will also help you do more research to know that you feel confident in the best health care plan for your family.
And don’t forget to keep Coach Foran’s tips in mind the next time you are heading to the dance studio or football field. Fuel your kids, keep them hydrated, but most importantly don’t forget to make time to play. Hopefully you won’t be heading to the ER and will keep them injury-free, but if by chance there is an accident, at least you’ll be covered with UnitedHealthcare.
Did you like this post? Then check out the Top 5 Healthy Snacks for Kids Playing Sports!