Experts: When it comes to kids' fitness, try to take it easy

It’s important to encourage young ones to play sports, but how much is too much?

Experts: When it comes to kids' fitness, try to take it easy
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Screens and video games, they’re taking over. Luckily, many kids still love sports. Whether they like moving and sweating, or are more into technology, there’s no doubt that parents always push their young ones to sign up for more classes.

As is the case with everything else, there’s always a downside, and the problem with too much physical activity is that it may lead to falls and broken bones.

“Broken bones are common in childhood, with up to 40 percent of girls and as many as 50 percent of boys experiencing a fracture. In the UAE, there are several paediatric cases recorded annually,” says Dr Arkan Harb Alhuneiti, consultant paediatric orthopaedic and spine surgeon at Burjeel Hospital for Advanced Surgery (BHAS), who specialises in spine and hip surgery as well as limb lengthening for kids.

“We see injuries and problems caused by high-intensity physical play quite often. Basketball, soccer, gymnastics, lacrosse, hockey and football are among the most common sports to cause such complications,” he added. In the past five years, there have been several play and movement-related emergencies, most of them of kids within the five to nine-year-old age group.”

“Fractures in kids are caused when more force is applied to the bone than it can absorb. Breaks in bones can occur from falls, trauma or as a result of a direct blow or kick to the body. Kids’ heal faster than an adults’, but it’s always recommended that you treat them correctly to make sure your little ones don’t run into problems down the road,” adds Dr Alhuneiti.

Forearm fractures are the most common in kids, and are responsible for up to 50 percent of all bone injuries. Other common ones include the distal radius, elbow, clavicle and tibial shaft. “While every child may have a different experience, the most common symptoms are pain and swelling in the injured area, warmth, bruising and redness.”

“Fractures in kids can heal well if they’re young and don’t have a medical history. However, since young bones are fragile, they can cause problems as the child grows,” explains Dr Alhuneiti.

Some injuries require surgery to stabilise growing bones, while others can be treated with immobilisation or casting. Parents, be careful when trying to get your kids to move more and always consult a doctor whenever something goes wrong.

The ultimate goal should always be to control the pain, promote healing and get the kids playing sports again in no time.

Keep the kids fit with...

MJP Dubai
A four-time Olympic Gold medalist wants to help kids achieve their fullest athletic potential. Michael Johnson Performance (MJP) Dubai is a sports training and fitness centre with a proven track record of methods designed specifically for young ones, Dubai, combining science, knowledge and fitness experience.

Johnson advises parents to encourage kids by:
Emphasising the fun element. Building structure in the field of play while avoiding burn out is key.

Promoting a meal plan full of healthy fats, proteins and carbohydrates.

Getting over nine hours of sleep for success, confidence and physiological growth.

Allowing your child to set short and long-term objectives.

Motivating kids to find athlete role models to look up to. 
From Dhs251.60 (per session). Mina Rashid, Dubai, michaeljohnsonperformance.com.

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