Any intense physical activity should be followed up by a time of rest and recovery. Teen athletes especially should be mindful. Since their bodies are still growing, they are more likely to sustain muscle, tendon, and growth plate injuries. Do not overlook the importance of rest in teen athletes. Rest allows the body to heal and recover and reduces the likelihood of injuries.
Common Signs of Being Overworked
Teens who love sports and participate in multiple with potentially overlapping seasons are at high risk of being overworked. Overworking can lead to physical and mental burnout. Spot common signs to encourage rest before physical and emotional strain can take its toll.
- Frequent aches and pains
- Decreased physical performance
- Declining academic performance
- Frequently not feeling well
- Poor quality sleep
- Loss of appetite
- Suddenly overeating
- Loss of interest in a sport they once enjoyed
- Emotional changes in behavior
Tips for Quality Rest
Take Time Off
The National Athletic Trainers’ Association recommends that young athletes take at least 2 days off every week from active participation in sports and other physically intense activities. Taking this time allows the body to recover and reduce the likelihood of injury.
Choose Active-Recovery Activities
Some teens may be less inclined to take a break from intense activity. In this case, encourage active-recovery activities like yoga, swimming, walking, and gentle jogging. Active-recovery activities encourage mild motion that does not put much strain on the body.
Ensure Quality Sleep
Sleep is already crucial for teens and their development. Since good sleep is essential to the recovery of muscles and organs teen athletes need to be aware of how much sleep they’re getting. They need to aim for 9-10 hours of sleep daily. Read more about common sleep problems in teens.
Take Extended Post Season Rest
Once the sports season is done, take an extended break from sports if possible. Encourage your teen to exercise at their pace and find ways to stay active outside of sports. This way activity can be less intensive and it can build healthy habits while keeping their body strong and healthy for the next season.
Teens already need a lot of sleep as it is. Considering the additional need for muscle recovery in athletes, it’s crucial to understand the importance of rest in teen athletes. Taking time away from intense physical activity and ensuring a quality night’s sleep can make a big difference and keep your teen athlete from becoming overworked.
Sources: SportsMD, Self, Very Well Mind, Boulder Centre for Orthopedics and Spine