The Science Behind Sports & Exercise

Getting daily exercise is important for everybody, kids included. Doctors recommend that kids spend at least one hour per day in active play or participating in an active sport. Your body will respond positively when you exercise, as your bones, muscles, and joints will get stronger. To make sure that you have enough energy for sports and daily exercise, you need to eat a nutritious diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and dairy products.

Science and Sports

  • Sports Physiology: Facts: If you want to be good at a particular sport, you might study the science of it to understand it better. For example, understanding what happens when you throw a ball may make you a better baseball, softball, or football player.
  • Interesting Facts About Sports and Exercise: A number of things happen inside the body when people exercise. Some of this includes blood pumping, oxygen being delivered, stored energy being used, and maintaining correct body temperature to prevent overheating.
  • Sports Science and Medicine Fact Sheet (PDF): An athlete who wants to excel at figure-skating will train with both aerobic and strength-training exercises. Having a strong core helps with many different aspects of figure-skating.
  • Science of Hockey: Goalie Reaction Time: A hockey goalie’s reaction time needs to be lightning-fast to stop scoring. Reaction time will get faster with training, but an athlete’s genetics also have an effect on reaction time.
  • Health Benefits of Tennis: Why Play Tennis? Playing tennis takes clear thinking and fast reactions. Tennis players get both aerobic and anaerobic exercise.

Exercise Science

  • Dear Sports Scientists: Will Drinking Fluids Keep Me Cool? Drinking fluids during exercise prevents dehydration, which helps athletes continue to perform. Some people think that drinking fluids helps regulate body temperature, but this has only a small impact on core temperature.
  • A Few Facts About Calories, Body Fat, and Muscle: To build muscle, people need to eat enough protein. They also need to engage in resistance training to make muscles grow.
  • Physical Activity: Getting regular exercise helps people avoid diseases, decreases body fat, and often makes people feel happier.
  • Adolescents and Young Adults: Regular exercise makes muscles, joints, and bones stronger. Exercise also helps people avoid gaining weight.
  • Middle Childhood (PDF): Because kids are growing, it’s very important to eat healthy food and get regular exercise to build strong bones and muscles.
  • Why Yoga and Kids Go Together: Practicing yoga involves exercises that help make you stronger and more flexible.

Fitness and Nutrition

  • Eight Game-Day Nutrition Tips for Young Athletes: Athletes who want to make sure they perform their best must eat breakfast, focusing on complex carbohydrates for energy.
  • Facts and Statistics: Most people in America eat too much sugar, sodium, and fat. At the same time, Americans don’t eat enough fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • A Guide to Eating for Sports: Your activity level demands the right amount of food. If you don’t eat enough, you may not have the energy you need to participate in sports.
  • Dietary Recommendations for Healthy Children: Eating a lot of different foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dairy products, and lean meats will help give you the energy you need to be active in sports.
  • Summary of the ACS Guidelines on Nutrition and Physical Activity: The American Cancer Society explains how important it is to exercise every day and keep body fat low to stay healthy.
  • Healthy Snack Ideas for Kids: Healthy snacks are important for kids. Eating nutritious foods between meals helps give energy for active play.
  • Why Kids Should Eat Healthy and Exercise (video): Being strong and active when you are a kid helps ensure that you will keep being strong and healthy when you grow up.
  • Sports and Nutrition: Fueling Your Performance: The things you eat have a direct impact on how much energy you have for sports. Make sure you eat complex carbohydrates for energy and lean protein to build muscle.
  • Nutrition and Athletic Performance: Even if you don’t participate in sports, you still need to pay attention to your diet to make sure that you have the energy you need for your daily activities.
  • Sports Nutrition: Fueling the Body for Optimal Performance (PDF): A healthy diet helps athletes stay energized, which means they may be able to play longer without getting tired.
  • Foods and Fluids for Fitness (PDF): Drinking water about two to three hours before exercise and then again right before exercise will help keep you hydrated.
  • Sports Nutrition (PDF): About an hour before taking a bike ride or going swimming, eat a half-sandwich on whole-grain bread to make sure you have enough energy.

Experiments

  • Pumping it Up (PDF): These experiments will help you understand how exercise benefits your heart.
  • Exercise and Your Heart (PDF): Learn how physical activity affects how fast or slow your heart beats.
  • Exercise: Check Your Pulse: Take your pulse, then do some jumping jacks, then check your pulse again. You will notice that your heart is beating faster after exercising.

Games and Activities

  • Blast Off: You have to choose the best foods to fuel yourself for activity in the Blast Off game.
  • The Pulse: Play this game to learn where your pulse is and how it works.

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