Don’t Delay if You Want to Play

Scheduling a child’s school or sports physical can be a tricky task if put off until the last minute.

What many parents don’t know is that they can schedule these exams now and avoid the push for appointments that comes in August. While local clinics make every attempt to accommodate the demand, each new school year they see a heavy volume of students needing physicals for sports, kindergarten registration, and other periodic check-ups.

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Teens and Weightlifting

teen weightliftingWhen we think of weightlifting, our first thought may not be about kids – but in reality, it can be a good form of exercise. Alison Regal, exercise specialist with UW Health’s Sports Performance program, explains that weightlifting fulfills many dimensions of overall wellness – including the social, physical, emotional and even intellectual.

“Weightlifting can help increase bone mineral density and lean muscle mass. It helps to prevent injury and increases athletic performance. From an emotional perspective it can be a great way to relieve stress. If you’re part of a team – weightlifting can increase team cohesiveness and participating in a weightlifting program can increase an athlete’s confidence, open their mind to new experiences and help them step outside their comfort zone” she says.

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Health Issues at the Olympics

Aaahhhhh….the Olympics.  The time where one becomes an expert in a sport they only watch once every 4 years (“What were the curlers thinking with that move?!?”, “That ski jump was way more difficult than the other that got a higher score!”).  I have enjoyed watching this Olympics more than prior years.  One reason is that there were many teenagers doing really teenagery things (I’m aware teenagery is not a word, but it should be).  There’s the 17 year old gold medal snowboarder, Red Gerard, who overslept on competition day after a night of binge-watching Netflix (and he couldn’t find his coat, so had to borrow someone else’s).  Another 17 year old gold medal snowboarder, Chloe Kim, tweeted about her dietary habits in between her runs.  It’s good to see all the Olympic fame hasn’t changed them.

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Bone Health and Teens

The body is an incredible machine. It performs countless functions without our knowing and is able to turn the food we eat into energy to do homework, play sports, lift the remote to change channels, walk the shores of Lake Mendota, and do every other activity we do. But what happens when our bodies don’t get the energy they need? This is a topic that has been studied by many doctors and organizations, including the International Olympic Committee.

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Going for the Gold?

Sport SpecializationI was going to write about a completely different topic for this week’s post, but I just saw an incredible presentation about sport specialization by UW’s own Alison Brooks, MD, MPH, and I can’t stop thinking about it. Dr. Brooks was presenting research about whether sport specialization – when an athlete focuses on one sport, usually throughout the year and at the exclusion of participation in other sports – is a healthy and effective way to help youth achieve their athletic goals. In other words, does someone who wants to play in the WNBA have to play in a year-round basketball league before high school (or even middle school)?

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