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By Lepear Smith

Check out these helpful tips from a record breaking track and football collegiate athlete and personal trainer that will keep your kids healthy and active this summer.

Tip #1: Make water your best friend

There are hundreds of reasons to drink water, but the number one reason is it’s key to preventing dehydration which is especially an issue with the summer heat. Young kids/athletes should aim to get in a minimum of 64 ounces a day. The more you sweat, the more water you need. Most young athletes will consume “sports” drinks, but these drinks can actually dehydrate your athlete even more and can negatively affect physical and mental performance. The average 20-ounce sports drink contains about 7 teaspoons of sugar while the recommended daily intake is between 5 and 8 teaspoons per day.  It is okay to drink some of those “sugary” drinks, but make sure to increase the amount of water on the days you do.  Making sure to take in more water than any other drink is very important.

Tip #2: See the sun, not the screen

A recent study from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that the average child is spending 75 hours on technology per week plus an additional 1½ hours of text messaging PER DAY. Hours can pass by without even realizing it while playing with technology. Try designating a set amount of time for this. For example, your child can have 30 minutes to play on the iPad or watch a television show, but only after they’ve spent time being active outdoors. Set an alarm to remind yourself to get active and make physical health a priority in your household. Help your child/athlete set a goal to limit technology to a certain amount per day. Give them a small reward for achieving their goal, and if they do it every day of the week they can earn a larger reward.

Tip #3: Specializing isn’t necessarily best

 This last tip is geared toward athletes, but it can be beneficial for anyone.  Many people believe that to be the best football player you can only play football, and you have to do it ALL the time. What we overlook is the fact that other training activities can increase our success rate in different sports.  Being physical doesn’t mean you only have to do the sport you are focused on. If you want to be the best basketball player, riding a bike is still going to help you train. You don’t have to just shoot hoops.  Changing up your activity can also reduce your risk of overuse injuries many single sport athletes struggle with. A multi-sport athlete can use techniques from each sport or training to be successful in their current season.

Summer Tips for Healthy Kids

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