Sports Physicals & Back to School Health

  • Written by Dr. Elizabeth Thybulle & Dr. Lanika Buchanan

by Dr. Elizabeth Thybulle & Dr. Lanika Buchanan

The new school year is here and so are those required sports physicals. School sports are an exciting opportunity to grow mentally, physically and emotionally. Be sure your student is in the best health to start the year and ready to compete in their chosen activity.

Fall sports like football, soccer, swim/dive, tennis, golf, cross country and volleyball require physicals. Winter and spring sports also need physicals and it may be easier to get them done in the fall. Winter brings basketball, wrestling, swim/dive and gymnastics, while spring has track, baseball, soccer, tennis and golf. Each of these sports has different physical requirements necessitating more specific nutritional needs.

Whether you are feeding a line backer or a golfer, you want to be sure you are giving them the correct balance of goodies.

Healthy eating for athletes includes foods in their natural form, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, fish, lean meats, nuts, seeds and beans. Limit the junk and sugary foods and be sure they get plenty of good old plain water.

Quality performance also means getting plenty of rest and mental down time.

Sorry kids, this does not include video games! Here’s a bit of information you might find interesting regarding sleep. Pre-teens require about 10-12 hours of sleep each night, while teens need 8½-9½ hours. They tend not to meet their needs due to demanding schedules filled with school, homework, friends, activities, sports, and jobs. That and the fact they just don’t want to go to bed.

Because of the demands on their time, they are often chronically sleep deprived. If your child misses one hour of sleep each night it will add up to an entire night of missed sleep by the end of the week.

This is a really big deal because the ability to pay attention in school is decreased along with diminished athletic performance, decreased response time and poor short-term memory.

A tired teen behind the wheel is also much more likely to smash up your car. (Arrgh!)

Now a bit about the immune system. Protect against those nasty buggies now before it’s too late! A good quality multiple vitamin is a start, but alone can’t stand up to the viral soup that most schools have become. In the Pacific Northwest it is usually a good idea to supplement additional vitamin D and vitamin C for an extra boost. You may also want to consider high quality fish oil supplements as they contain essential fatty acids which help reduce fatigue and improve memory, immunity, dry skin, mood swings and poor circulation.

At Health Moves we focus on overall support during a sports physical with activity specific dietary advice and nutritional support for those growing, maturing bodies and brains.

We turn simple sports physicals into an opportunity to learn about optimal health. Our Naturopathic Doctors look forward to seeing your junior high to college age student soon.

Dr. Thybulle is a Naturopathic Doctor & Dr. Lanika Buchanan is a Naturopathic Doctor and Acupuncturist.

They may be reached at: Health Moves 17311 135th Ave NE Ste. C-800 Woodinville, WA 98072

(425) 402-9999 or

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