Improving the quality of life in individuals fighting pulmonary diseases
How Sports Could Be The Answer To Improving Your Childs Pulmonary Conditioning
One of the hardest things to do is understand that you cannot protect your child from the outside world. Eventually they are going to grow up and take on the world and you just hope you have done enough to prepare them for what’s to come. Those feelings of protecting your child increased when you heard your son or daughter was diagnosed with a pulmonary condition. No one knows how hard it was to hear those words from the doctor or the shock you went through. All you knew at that moment in time is that you were going to protect your child and fight this to the end. Your love for your child runs deep. No one will ever question that. It runs so deep that sometimes it may be holding them back for opportunities to improve their health. You have all the intentions in the world to make things perfect for them but maybe that’s just it, maybe they need a little of imperfect. Challenges that are physically demanding that you can’t offer but only provide the opportunity to engage in.
As your son or daughter grows up, their challenges will grow with them. Things will be different but not in any way that can stop them from doing what any typical kid can do. As you grow with them, it is imperative that your child stays active. Klijin et al. (2003) found that kids with cystic fibrosis that had a higher VO2peak, also showed an increase in survival rate over time. VO2peak is the amount of oxygen your body can consume during exercise. VO2peak can be increased simply by enrolling your son and/or daughter into sports, especially at a young age. By enrolling your child in a sport early on, he/she can work on improving his/her VO2peak in a manner that is fun and engaging. The hardest part of working on improving a kid’s health is keeping them engaged with the task at hand and keeping them doing it consistently over the long haul. Enrolling your child in basketball, soccer or any youth sports that involve some sort of running could help aid in improving your son’s or daughter’s VO2peak. Sports are fun and kids need fun. They need to grow and let their imaginations run wild. What better way than through sports.
Sports at a young age not only help slow down a decline in lung function, but it can teach your son our daughter how to problem solve with other youngsters, improve their hand eye coordination and increase their respiratory muscular strength through the short bursts of running up and down the court during a game. The respiratory muscles are breathing muscles, but they are also core stabilizing muscles. They allow us to move at slow or high forces. This also means they have the ability to help create more force behind coughs and help clear more mucus from the lungs. And as you already know, it’s important to be able to cough up all that mucus.
We understand that it can be scary to put your child in sports that could cause them harm. It is understandable to be cautious on how hard the demand of a sport could be on your child.
Talk with your clinical doctors and pulmonary care team. They are always advocating for youth sports. They can help you make the right accommodations. Every child should experience some form of sports as they grow up. Whether it is basketball or baseball, put your kids in something that will be challenging both mentally and physically. Improving their mind body connection will help them strengthen their ability to fight their disease later on.
Klijn, P.H, Terheggen-Lagro, S.W., Van der Ent, C.K., Van der Net, J., Kimpen, J.L., & Helders P.J. (2003). Anaerobic exercise in pediatric cystic fibrosis. Pediatric Pulmonology, 36(3), 223–229.
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