Keeping Your Student Athlete Active This Winter

Summit sports medicine specialist Amy Beacom, M.D., shares ideas about keeping students and athletes engaged and active this winter.

Student athletes, especially high schoolers, devote significant time and dedication to their sports. Some may be hoping to play at the collegiate level, and others enjoy the camaraderie, exercise, and discipline involved. Sports are widely acknowledged to be great for kids, physically, emotionally, and mentally. But what happens when your student’s sports season is affected by a pandemic? Dr. Beacom offers some ideas to keep your student athlete active during this winter.

“COVID-19 has been so hard for everyone, and it’s certainly difficult for kids who love doing organized sports,” Dr. Beacom said. “In general, approaches will vary depending on your individual child.”

Tip 1: get outside to keep your student athlete active

Getting outside is great for all dimensions of wellness for children and adolescents (and adults, too!). And for teens who appreciate the social aspect of sports, small, socially distanced groups outside can be relatively low risk.

To combat the winter chill, you could have a bonfire (safely, of course) or use an outdoor firepit to keep things cozy. “You could even open your garage and put up a shooting tarp for hockey practice,” Dr. Beacom said.

Making use of the outdoors to keep your student athlete active is key to getting through this season.

Tip 2: engage over a meal

In some ways, finding methods to keep kids physically active is the easy part of the equation. However, addressing mental and emotional stressors can be trickier. Dr. Beacom suggests focusing on family mealtimes as a way to strengthen engagement and fun.

“One small change you can do at dinnertime is to put a simple question under the dinner plate every day. Teenagers might roll their eyes, but it does spark discussion,” Dr. Beacom said. Something as simple as “What was funny today?” is all you need. Lists of family dinner-table conversation starters are available online.

Tip 3: make time to connect

“Going for a walk together is a great way to make time to connect with your kids,” Dr. Beacom said. Turn kids’ favorite activities, like video games, into a family event. Playing side by side can reduce feelings of isolation.

Let’s hope that next year they’ll be back 100% to the sports they love.

Summit Orthopedics offers comprehensive sports medicine expertise

From Olympians to pro athletes to kids in youth sports and those that just want to be more active, Summit Orthopedics delivers expert care by fellowship-trained sports medicine physicians. If you are recently injured or concerned about ongoing pain, Summit Orthopedics sports medicine specialists have the expertise you need. We will evaluate your discomfort and develop a plan to quickly and safely help you get back to being active.

 Start your journey to stronger, healthier athletic condition. Find your sports medicine expert and request an appointment online. Or, you can call us at (651) 968–5201 to schedule a sports medicine consultation.

 Summit has convenient locations across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, serving Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We have state-of-the-art centers for comprehensive orthopedic care in Eagan, MNPlymouth, MN, Vadnais Heights, MN, and Woodbury, MN. We also have several additional community clinics.

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