“Regular activities and organised sports offer great benefits and ensure your child gets exercise on a regular basis,” says Kirsty MacPherson-Wright, co-founder and wellness expert at Phoenix Rising, which runs yoga-based exercise classes for kids. “Avoid allowing a child to specialise in one sport or activity at a very early age, or training and practising too hard, too often in one sport.
Repetitive motion and a lot of training can result in injuries such as tendonitis and stress fractures, at a time when the body is still growing. Specialising in one sport too early can also lead to lopsided skill development.” Parents should aim to be a force for encouragement and not pressure, she says. “I recognise that a lot of today’s young athletes are self-driven and want to perform well. However, other soften seem to have competition thrust upon them.
Parents who were sporty or good athletes themselves,or who are trying to make up for their failed athletic youth, attempt to live vicariously through their children and tend to push their kids. For those children that do want to perform well and make the choice to practice and play regularly, then it is really important to encourage the child to stretch before and after exercise, take some rest days and, most importantly, learn to listen to their body.”
Featured in 7Days Metrolife section in November 2013.