High School Athletes: Staying Safe in the Heat

Teen Playing TennisMany high school athletes have already returned to sports camps in preparation for the fall season. The challenge is that during July, August and even September, we can experience some of the hottest days of the year. With the high temps, athletes need to be aware of how environmental factors like heat and humidity can affect their health and athletic performance.

How Heat Affects the Body

As heat and humidity rise our body has to work harder to cool off. Our bodies cool primarily through the evaporation of sweat. When temperatures rise, we produce more sweat to cool the body. As the humidity rises, it becomes more difficult for the sweat to evaporate hampering the ability of the body to cool off. It is one reason why it is important for athletes to drink fluids during the day and at practice to stay adequately hydrated, and to modify practice routines based on weather conditions.

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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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