Training for sports comes down to specific skill training and general strength and conditioning.

While each sport has its specific set of skills – ball handling, sprinting technique, batting, etc., all sports benefit from improvements in athleticism, explosivity, strength and stamina.  How do you ensure that your child continues to excel at their sport in a time when practices are limited and training may only take place virtually?

 The start of the COVID-19 pandemic was little over a year ago, and it seems like ages ago that life was “normal.” It’s been particularly hard on our children and teens as they haven’t enjoyed their favorite activities and sports, and some haven’t even been in school! I’ve spoken with many parents, and think a common question is: How can I get my children moving again after a year of being in front of a screen? More importantly, how can they safely transition into the same active lifestyle as before?

Any workout is much more difficult after taking some time off (we’ve all been there). The most important thing to remember is that if it took a year to get out of shape, you have to give time for your body to get back into shape. Instead of rushing into a full training program, slowly begin to incorporate exercise into your child’s life- whether that be a fast-walk after dinner or a virtual dance class once a week. Don’t push expectations on them (or yourself) to be at the same level as they were a year ago.

Next, be patient with your child and make sure they’re patient with themselves too. If they’ve gained a little weight or lost some muscle, it’s important not to focus on that. It will only frustrate them and make them feel less motivated to move. Instead, try supporting a family health regime. Celebrate the milestones like “two days straight of exercise” or “running 10 minutes longer than yesterday.”

Make sure your child is warming up before each activity, and taking time to cool down and stretch after. This is very important in preventing injury, especially for muscles that haven’t been used in a while. Give your child a healthy carbohydrate rich snack before (fruits, whole grains, rice, etc)and plenty of water during and after exercise. This will give the body energy to perform, as well as ease fatigue and soreness that comes from working out.

The best advice I can give is to enjoy the journey of a healthy lifestyle, and not think of it as an “end goal.” Each healthy choice is a step in the right direction, and we need to learn to live in moderation and enjoy treating our bodies right, especially after such a challenging year.

Happy exercising!


By Paytra Gessler, Certified Youth Fitness Trainer, Certified ISSA Fitness Professional

To find out more about our customized in-home fitness programs, contact Bonita at, or call 212-879-1566.