As your child heads back to school and competes in school sports, overuse and trauma injuries are common. Whether it’s low-back pain from playing football or an ankle injury sustained while playing volleyball, athletes can reduce injuries by strengthening all of their muscles and adopting a daily training program designed to optimize performance and minimize the chance of injuries.

Consistent exercise, strength training and cross-training can boost energy, keep muscles in shape, and help prevent injury. Every day, increase the heart rate for at least 10 minutes at a time, and perform jump routines and pivoting exercises. Take it slowly at first, and then gradually increase the time and intensity of the exercise. And don’t forget about your core, where strength is critical in any sport.  Drink plenty of water throughout the day, every day. Make a habit of drinking at least 16 ounces of water two hours prior to exercising and remember throughout practice — about every 15 to 20 minutes — to keep your body hydrated.

A great way to exercise is to swim at Hawaiian Falls or the natatorium to recharge and rejuvenate. Another great park is Oliver Nature Park in Mansfield. Enjoy the slides and river at the water park or a special Treehouse Overlook. Pack a snack and post up at one of the areas while taking it all in.  And remember to protect yourself from the sun and stay hydrated.