Tips Can Help Students Be Healthy, Injury-Free

Between school, sports and social lives, student atheletes have a lot on their plates. For a few students, this juggling act can mean pushing the limits and becoming susceptible to injury.
Even in youth, an injury can be as catastrophic as being benched for a season. These precautions should be an important part to any physical activity to keep the body from damaging itself.

Warming Up/stretching
Even if you are running 30 minutes late to practice, it is not acceptable to skip warming up and head directly onto the field. Warm-ups and stretches help prepare the body for rigorous activity.
Cool muscles are less sustainable to impact because they are not able to stretch. Warming up prepares the body’s cardiac function and enables the body to cope more easily with activity.
Trainer Jasmine Gittens recommends at least 15 to 20 minutes of warm-up time before every practice.

Cooling down
Contrary to certain beliefs, cooling down is just as important as warming up.
Cooling down is the major way to reduce fatigue and soreness after a difficult activity.
A soft aerobic activity helps pump out any metabolic waste products that may have accumulated during the work out. These waste products include lactic acid, which is the chemical that can cause swelling and pain within the muscle and is better known as soreness.
Cooling down also gives time for the heart to return to its normal beat. If a person stops strenuous activity suddenly, then the heart will not have sufficient time to slow down and continue to pump blood into the rest of the body. This then leaves the heart with an insufficient amount of blood, which may cause fatigue.

Drinking water
Losing only 2 percent of the body’s water mass can have negative effects toward a player’s endurance and quickness.
According to Gittens, there has been a large decrease in the number of students dehydrated this year.
“You should start by drinking about 8 to 16 ounces, 2 or 3 hours before you start, at least a gulp of water every 10 to 20 minutes during practice, and have Gatorade when you finish to restore the body’s electrolytes,” Gittens said.

Nine and a half hours of sleep are recommended by the American Sleep Disorders Association. This number is so high because hormones critical to growth and sexual maturation are released only during slumber.
With only 20 percent of teenagers getting the recommended amount of sleep each night according to a study conducted in 2006 by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), it is surprisingly that the other 80 percent of us are not already bedridden.
Sleeping in past noon can be a good way to catch up on sleep during the weekend, but studies advise teenagers to lengthen the amount of sleep every night.
Exercising for at least one hour and eating the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables (nine servings) each day are also important in taking care of your body.