Physical education and extra-curricular sports are excellent for socialization, team-building, and encourage a healthy lifestyle. Regular exercise helps build strong muscles, improves brain function, helps maintain a healthy body, decreases the potential for childhood obesity, provides stress release and promotes a positive body image. In other words, get out there and have fun! But be safe.
Since the 1990s, student injuries are up 150%, with more than 60,000 student injuries reported in a single year, according to the Associated Press.
Dr. Eric Plasker, a health and fitness expert and author of the best-selling The 100 Year Lifestyle (and the soon-to-be-released 100 Year Lifestyle Workout Book), is on a mission to put an end to these injuries. Featured on CNN, Dr. Plasker recommends students:
- Drink plenty of water before gym. Soda and energy drinks do not count! Hydration also helps to prevent muscle cramps.
- Take stretching seriously. Those five minutes of group stretches are as important as the rest of the class. Many injuries occur when muscles are cold. Take five minutes to really warm up, focusing on your hamstrings, ankles, neck, back and shoulders. Stretch at the end of class, too, in order to avoid soreness later.
- Wear proper attire. Sandals and heels are not meant for exercise. Neither are jeans or other constricting fabrics. These can cause you to move your body in unexpected ways and injuries can occur.
- Use the safety equipment provided. Batting helmets and baseball mitts may not be the most attractive accessories, but they can prevent serious head and hand injuries.
- Pay attention to your surroundings. Coach isn’t trying to ruin your social life by breaking up the conversation between you and your BFFs, she’s looking out for your safety! Fly balls and misplaced equipment can lead to serious injuries if you’re not careful.
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