Running and Safety

Dr. Jorge Gomez

Dr. Jorge Gomez

Expert: Dr. Jorge Gomez,  sports medicine physician at Texas Children’s Hospital  West Campus

Q: How should I help my child prepare for increased physical activity?

The most important step is to establish a pattern of regular, daily physical activity. Parents should strive for having their children engage in 60 minutes of activity every day. This includes free-play. If a parent has special concerns about their child’s fitness, such as concern over a previous injury, not having done much activity before or being overweight, the parent should consult with a sports medicine or fitness professional to come up with an age-appropriate conditioning program.

Q: Temperatures in Houston can be quite sporadic. Can my child still run or play sports outside even when the temperatures increase or decrease dramatically?

Most children can play in hot, humid conditions if precautions are taken. It is extremely important to ensure that your child is adequately hydrated. While sports drinks are appropriate for exercise longer than an hour and during hard training, the best hydration fluid is water. Encourage your child to start drinking more water, and save the sports drinks for during or after exercise, as they add little value in their lunch box or at meal times. Make sure your children get plenty of rest, and they should not exercise in the heat if they are sick.

Q: Should my child’s diet change vwhen they start to train for a  run or when they are playing sports?

Proper nutrition is essential to the health and well-being of children all of the time, but especially when it comes to their success in sports. Children, not just athletes, should avoid high fat foods. On the other hand, high protein diets are not appropriate for children either. Balance is important. The young athlete’s diet should have plenty of complex carbohydrates for energy, plenty of protein for muscle building and enough fat to stay healthy. Eating the right foods at the right time, such as lean meats and whole grains, can help provide the sustained energy during exercise and promote the recovery muscles need after strenuous exercise. Ask a sports dietitian, sports medicine specialist or fitness professional about your child’s dietary needs.

Q: Our family is gearing up for an upcoming run. What are some tips  to help us prepare?

Whether you’re running long distances or training for an upcoming season of baseball, here are some easy-to-follow tips to help you prepare:

  • Get a safe start to your running training program. Avoid running in extreme temperatures.
  • Wear white clothing or a reflector badge on your shirt to make sure drivers can see you.
  • Lace up in proper running shoes and gear, so your feet are comfortable and supported.
  • Warm up and cool down with walking and good stretching.
  • Drink even when you are not thirsty. Your body loses fluid when you run or sweat.
  • Balance your diet with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and dairy.
  • Get eight or more hours of sleep so that you’re rested and ready to go every day.
  • Try various types of exercise. This will give you extra strength and endurance.

If your family is looking for a fun activity you can train for and compete in together, join the

2017 Texas Children’s Hospital Family Fun Run
Saturday, April 8th
Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus

Participants of all abilities, including those needing walkers and wheelchairs, are welcome. For more information and to register, visit texaschildrens.org/funrunwest. The deadline to register is Monday, March 27th.