Lost in Michelle Obama’s laudable effort to get kids off the couch and onto the field is the potential danger of going too far. There are some kids who do nothing but exercise all day, putting themselves at at risk of pushing their bodies past the limits of what young people are made to do.
When children train too hard for too long, the body adapts. Less energy goes into proper growth and development, and more goes into weathering the current condition, packing on bone mass and ceasing to grow taller and more flexible.
The result is a generation of kids who are far more prone to injury, and far less likely to develop as they otherwise would, leading to a rash of preventable health issues. The solution is to roll back the exercise and give their bodies time to recover:
“They are skeletally immature, trying to produce muscle and bone and get stronger, so adequate recovery is key – so [ensure] they get enough sleep for their age, that they are eating properly and getting all parts of the food chain. Also that they are hydrated adequately because dehydration can predispose to injury as well.”
Orthopedic injuries in kids are part of life: they play an outsized role in many youth sports whether we like it or not. But injuries which occur in slow motion through repetition and overuse are entirely preventable: all that is required is a sense of proportion and restraint.