National Consumers League

Gearing up for healthy fall sports


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By Jacob Markey, NCL LifeSmarts intern Welcome back to the best year of LifeSmarts yet! August begins the 2010-2011 season by focusing on Health and Safety, and not only is it almost time for the school year to begin, it is also the beginning of the Fall sports season. Thinking about this brings me back to my adventures in high school playing soccer (not very good) and tennis (surprisingly decent). There is little else as fun to me as experiencing the thrill and joy of playing organized sports. To keep yourself at peek performance and avoid injuries while playing sports, make sure you take the following steps:

  • Stay hydrated. Without enough water, your body will begin to cramp and break down. Always remember to bring a water bottle when playing sports, drink 4-6 ounces every 15-20 minutes, and let an adult know if you are in urgent need of help if you become dehydrated. Other recommendations for staying hydrated can be found here and here. And being from Wisconsin, the Dairy State, I have learned that milk is now a good sports drink too. So drink up!
  • See a coach and/or trainer if you have any health concerns. Maybe the worst part of playing a sport is having to sit out a game due to injury. To avoid this, always remember to thoroughly stretch before starting to play. If you do feel any pain, see your school’s trainer or nurse, who will give you advice on how to deal with your injury.
  • Use the proper equipment: Buy the right type of protection (cleats and shin guards for soccer, mouth guard for football, etc.) and make sure they fit correctly.
  • Refuse to take steroids. There are a multitude of negative health implications that can result from steroid use, and your best bet is to steer clear of them.
By keeping these tips in mind, you can best prepare yourself for a safe and successful sports season. For those who don’t participate in sports, it is still vitally important to stay active for your health. The federal government recommends that teens get at least 60 minutes of exercise just about every day of the week. For some recommendations of the varied kinds of exercises and activities you could do to fulfill this, check out the links here and here. Good luck to everyone for a fun and successful school year, and I look forward to posting again next month.