Why kids should play sports

By Janis Meredith | Posted 12/5/2018

As if there weren’t already many good reasons for kids to play sports, I’ve just found some more. A report put out by TrueSport.org claims that in addition to the physical benefits, sports provide emotional, psychological and social benefits.

Here are some highlights from that report:

   Research shows that physical activity slows down the development of chronic diseases and conditions, such as heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and osteoporosis because sport participation strengthens the heart, muscles and bones and lessens stress.

   Childhood and youth obesity has doubled over the past 25 years and affects one-third of all children by third grade. Sports and physical activity play an important part in helping children maintain a healthy weight. Bottom line, it gets your kids off the couch.

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   Although statistics indicate adolescence is a time when physical activity and team sport participation decline, studies show that children who play sports at an early age are more likely to stay active as teens and adults.

   Playing sports also has a positive effect on emotional, social and psychological development. Children who play sports show improved academic achievement, higher self-esteem, fewer behavioral problems and healthier psychological adjustment. This is because physical movement affects the brain’s physiology. In other words, playing sports is good for the body and the brain.

   This next reason is why recess is so important for kids in school: When kids burn off energy outside the classroom, they have a higher attention span in the classroom. Their physical exertion helps them to relax better short-term, gives them greater creativity and improves their problem-solving abilities. Physical exertion leads to short-term relaxation, enhanced creativity and memory, better mood and improved problem-solving abilities.

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   Kids who play sports have higher grades in school and complete more years of education.

   Sports can teach young athletes to control emotions and show initiative, two traits which transfer to other areas of life: school, family and eventually a job.

   Studies show that girls who play sports gain confidence and self-esteem and are less likely to be overweight and depressed, to smoke, use illegal drugs or have teen pregnancies.

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Never mind your dreams for a bright athletic future for your child, the benefits of playing sports in a positive, growing environment are huge even if your child never gets a full ride scholarship or plays in college. Organized or haphazard, competitive or recreational, get your kids moving and playing something. It will shape their lives for the better.

This information is taken from The True Sport Report, sponsored by U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. Learn more at www.USADA.org and www.TrueSport.org.

Janis B. Meredith is a parenting coach. She provides resources to help parents raise champions. Learn more about how she can help parents Raise Champions.