Top five back-to-school health essentials

(ProActive Sports Rehab offers a weekly column promoting health, fitness and physical therapy. Please be sure to check back each week for a new topic!)

With children across the country gearing up to begin another year of school, what better time to explore some ideas to help ensure your child gets off to a healthy and happy start? Here are the top five back-to-school health tips to consider.

1. Set bedtimes. It’s essential for kids (and adults) to get a healthy amount of sleep each night to stay focused throughout the day. Although sleep requirements vary somewhat among individuals, most adults need about eight hours of sleep each night, and children and adolescents typically need more than eight hours to fuel growth spurts as well as developing bones and muscles. Rather than have them feeling groggy in the morning and getting upset when they oversleep, encourage earlier bedtimes for adequate rest.

2. Teach good hygiene habits. With so many people around, germs are bound to be lurking in classrooms. To help your kids avoid getting sick — and prevent them from bringing viruses home — it’s important to show them how to protect themselves. Teach them to wash their hands after using the washroom and before going to lunch or eating a snack. A travel-sized hand sanitizer is great in a pinch if you can’t get to a washroom, but don’t overdo it — using a disinfectant too much can lower your natural defenses.

3. Stock up on healthy foods. It might be easy to pack your kids’ lunches with pre-made snacks, but a healthy diet is of the utmost importance and junk foods don’t fit into the equation. Make it easier for yourself by stocking up on healthy grab-and-go foods like fruits, vegetables, whole-grain bread and nuts. For meals, stick to lean proteins like turkey and legumes.

4. Manage stress. Ward away tension and anxiety by encouraging your little ones to exercise regularly in a way they enjoy, whether it’s rollerblading, biking, team sports, or walking around the park playing Pokémon Go. Teach them proper deep “belly” breathing and that a healthy balance of work and play is best.

5. Stock up your medicine cabinet. Save yourself a last-minute dash to the pharmacy by keeping your medicine cabinet well-stocked for all the scrapes, bruises, fevers, and stuffy noses your child is bound to get. Always read and follow the label.
— News Canada

ProActive Sports Rehab, with offices in Hamburg and West Seneca, offers one-on-one physical therapy and rehabilitation services. For more information, please visit or call 674-9600 (West Seneca office) or 648-8700 (Hamburg office). You can also follow ProActive Sports Rehab on Facebook at for frequent updates.