Exercising is part of a healthy lifestyle, and this is certainly one of the great advantages of playing a sport in childhood. Specialists agreed on several occasions that physical activities must be a part of children’s daily program, and playing a sport seems the accurate solution. A new guideline offered by specialists tells a slightly different story, and parents must be careful about what they chose for their children when it comes to childhood sports.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has recently released a new guideline dedicated not only to parents but to specialists too. They advise parents not to persuade their children into demanding, challenging sports, especially not from an early age. Childhood sports can expose kids to risks, such as overuse injuries, which can develop into further complications, or burnout.
Excessive training should also be excluded, according to the clinical recommendation. It is also suggested that athletes should reach puberty or high school age before choosing their sports specialization. Parents and specialists have a crucial role in the young athletes’ choices, and the purpose of the new guideline is to inform them on how to assist the children.
Pediatricians and trainers should also consult the new guideline, as they are in contact will children and can influence their choices. Both parents and instructors must understand there is no need for them to put pressure on young children because they will only manage to worry them. Children must be encouraged to take up a sport which is suitable for them and to do it out of passion and fun, not for the sake of a prize or at the cost of their health.
The authors of the new study point out that if children pick their specialization on sports when they are older (in high school, for instance), there are more chances for them to succeed in most of the sports, and even reach performance sooner. In childhood, they are supposed to try a bit from everything, in order to be able to choose from a wide variety when they get older. This way they won’t lack practice, and they won’t be exhausted either.
Another advice from specialists is that young athletes should take a month off three times a year. They can use the free time to recover both physically and mentally after training.
There have been other reports on injuries and burnout caused by excessive training on children, and the new guideline revises and adds in-depth information to previous studies.
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