Do you know how youth sports can impact a child’s life, now and in the future? Here’s a quick guide on how sports can improve quality of life well into adulthood.
by Atomic Mommy Editors
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Playing sports as a kid can have a tremendous impact on life. In fact, the mental, social and
physical benefits are well documented. As such, it’s important for parents to encourage their
young ones to take part in organized sports. Below is a look at how athletic pursuits can
improve a child’s quality of life now, and into adulthood.
In America, there are an estimated 60 million children participating in organized sports every
year. Whether they’re running down field to score a goal or hitting one out of the park, there
are lots of things these kids stand to gain from participation. Many learn firsthand the value of
hard work as they strive to improve or accountability as they are relied on for the team to
succeed. Other life skills they can acquire are integrity, confidence and effective communication
as they overcome challenges alongside their teammates. Such invaluable qualities can help
them find success later in life as they pursue professional ambitions.
One of the more observable benefits is physical fitness. As they run to catch a ball or outswim
an opponent, they’re not only having fun, but the exercise is lowering the risk of heart disease,
type 2 diabetes and even cancer. Such exercise is very important for healthy development, both
physically and mentally. That’s why health experts recommend kids get an hour of exercise
every day. A 2019 study found children who did not exercise were twice as likely to have
mental health problems — particularly issues relating to anxiety and depression — when
compared to those who met the recommended amount.
Playing for high school teams, as nearly 8 million American teenagers do, also has its benefits.
For one, student athletes are less likely to participate in unhealthy or risky behavior according
to a national report. The report also found students who spent no time in extracurricular
activities were 37% more likely to become teen parents. Another 49% were more likely to use
drugs. However, those numbers were dramatically improved by having just four hours in a sport
or other extracurricular activity each week.
How can parents get their kids interested in playing a sport? One tried and true method is to
lead by example. Children look up to their parents and when they see them competing
athletically, they naturally want to take part as well. Another pointer is to stay positive. Having
a negative take on a performance or disrespecting the coaches, umps and other players has
been shown to be very discouraging. Parents should focus on the rewards of team participation
and having fun if they want their kids to get the most out of the experience.
For further information on the value of childhood athletics, please see the accompanying
resource by Axio Athletic.
This infographic was created by Axio Athletic, provider of custom baseball jerseys