Summer break is almost here, and the kids will soon be home 24/7. But, don’t panic: there are plenty of indoor activities and exercises you can do at home to keep them busy and moving. Although we love the extra time we may get to spend with them, how do we make sure the whole house doesn’t go stir-crazy? To prevent excessive idleness (i.e. prolonged video-gaming, TV watching, device playing), here are some fun things you can do to keep your kids moving, active, and healthy:

Stand Up and March:  Set a timer for 15 minutes and have the kids march in place while playing their favorite video game or watching television.

Freeze Dance: What is more fun than showing off your best dance moves? Turn on some upbeat music and get everyone dancing. When you stop the music everyone must freeze in place; working on balance and core strengthening without even thinking about it.

10-Minute Workout Circuit: Try a quick workout routine twice a day. Lead by example and participate with the kids. Below are some ideas to help you get started, do 10 rounds of each activity.

Circuit:

1:  Jumping Jacks – 1 min

2: Push-Ups – 1 min

3: Run in Place – 1 min

4:  Lunges – 1 min

5: Kid’s Choice – 1 min

Scavenger Hunt: Give them clues to get off the couch and search around for hidden treasures. You can alter the game to be inside or outside (or a mix of both).

Activity Contest: Challenge the kids to keep track of their exercises and activities. You can also use fitness trackers and smartwatches to keep track of which family member gets the most steps in a day. Have a stash of small prizes for that day’s winner.

Obstacle Course: Get creative and use items like swimming pool noodles, gym balls, and hula hoops to make an obstacle course in the sprinklers.

Neck Stretching: Excessive TV watching, video games, and hand-held devices can contribute to poor posture and neck pain. Have the kids regularly perform these exercises for improved postural awareness.

Chin Tucks:  Draw your head back so your ears are in line with shoulders. Perform the exercise 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

Shoulder blade squeezes:  Sit up tall and bring your shoulder blades back and hold. Perform the exercise 3 sets of 10 repetitions with 3-second hold.

Neck Rotations:  Turn your head to one side, then slowly return to looking straight ahead. Perform the exercise 3 sets of 10 repetitions. Repeat on the other side.

Healthy Snacks:  Help develop your child’s culinary skills by having them help prepare some easy and healthy snacks while standing at the kitchen counter. Try making fruit or vegetable kebabs. For a cool summer treat, it is also very easy to make fresh fruit popsicles.

FAST Training: Get the kids moving at the personal training programs we have available at many of our valley-wide Foothills Sports Medicine locations. The strength and conditioning specialists will help your kids reach their fitness and performance goals.

We hope these at-home exercises, activities, and snack ideas help fight off boredom and keep your family healthy and happy this summer. If your child is experiencing a pain that is keeping them from being active, call us to schedule a children’s physical therapy appointment.

The new school year is fast approaching, and young athletes are looking forward to getting back on the field to show off their skills against rival teams. Many of them have been training for years and are dreaming of the day when they will get the nod for a starting position. As parents get their children signed up to compete in sports, they need to consider more than just uniform and equipment purchases—involvement in any sport comes with risks.

In 2011, the Arizona Interscholastic Association made it a requirement for all high school athletes to complete the NHFS concussion course in order to be eligible for play. According to the CDC, approximately 300,000 high school athletes suffer sports-related head injuries every year. Many people associate concussion injuries with football players; however, these injuries can affect youth in ALL sports.

Fortunately, concussion and CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) awareness has increased. Communicating with your child when a head injury is suspected is vital to recovery. Many concussions or head injuries go undetected (or unspoken of) by the athlete. These are the symptoms to look for in your child if you suspect they may be suffering from a concussion:

  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Slurred Speech
  • Sleep Disturbance
  • Temporary Loss of Consciousness
  • Ringing in Ears
  • Delayed Response
  • Irritability/Personality Change
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Light Sensitivity

It is important to immediately inform your child’s physician, coach, and/or their school athletic trainer if you notice any of these symptoms following a head injury. The brain needs time to heal and an athlete should not return to sport until cleared to do so by a physician and athletic trainer.

So, how can physical therapy help with concussion recovery?

Physical therapy treatments cannot heal the injured brain, but your physical therapist can facilitate injury recovery by monitoring the physical, mental, and emotional symptoms associated with a concussion. Many concussions are linked to neck trauma and, as a result, can produce cervicogenic headaches. Following evaluation of the cervical region by a physical therapist, treatments may include neck stretching or strengthening exercises, manual therapy, mechanical traction, ultrasound, and/or electrical stimulation. Neck strengthening can be essential in preventing re-injury.

Through a series of specific training and exercise, physical therapy can also address the vestibular symptoms associated with concussions such as dizziness, balance issues, and difficulty focusing. Following a concussion diagnosis, an athlete is generally instructed to avoid any physical activity or sport until symptom-free. Once cleared, your PT can help get the athlete back into sport-specific shape in a safe manner while monitoring post-concussion symptoms throughout rehab. Healthcare providers are concerned with preventing another head injury, as repeated concussions without proper healing have been linked to depression, increased aggression, dementia, and suicidal tendencies.

To ensure your child heals fully and safely from a concussion, and to prevent one from re-occurring, visit your local Foothills Sports Medicine Phoenix physical therapy clinic. We have 22 locations across the Valley, and our highly trained staff are available for a free assessment to address your physical therapy needs and questions.