Encouraging your child into team sports from an early age has many benefits. In the past we’ve often focused on the physical and health benefits. However, there’s now a lot of scientific evidence that highlights the mental, emotional and social benefits that come from playing team sports as well. In this article we’ll look at some of the well known, and more recently discovered benefits of getting your child into sports.
Regular physical activity, both before and during puberty, is shown to improve the development of stronger bones and muscles, a recent study has found. When our bones and muscles are stronger we are more resistant to injury. Additionally, we develop a solid foundation for future physical development as an adult. Studies have shown that up to 90% of peak bone mass is acquired by age 18 in girls and 20 in men. Making it crucial that your child develops their bone health through regular activity at a young age.
There’s no hiding the fact that childhood obesity is a growing problem in Australia. The studies show that since 1995 the number of overweight and obese children aged 5-17 rose at an alarming rate. With obesity in boys of that age group more than doubling over the period! There are many major contributing factors to this. Including more sugary and high-energy foods and drinks, less activity, and more time watching TV and playing with electronic devices instead of running around outside. Being part of a sporting team is one of the best ways to avoid unhealthy weight gain in children! And also provides the platform for better diet and exercise choices in adulthood, which can reduce the risk of many health problems such as diabetes and heart disease.
Increased fitness and better cardio vascular endurance are well-known benefits of exercise. Increased cardio vascular health is one of our body’s most important allies in fighting off disease! Especially heart disease, which takes over 45,000 lives in Australia annually, making it one of the major health problems faced today. That alone is enough incentive for you to get your kids up, active and playing sports.
We all want our children to be happy. And regular exercise is proven to help us be happier and more positive. Exercise increases the body’s production of endorphins, reduces stress by controlling hormone levels and reduces anxiety and depression. It’s found that kids who exercise 3-5 times a week for 30-60 minutes will enjoy much happier and positive moods more often. But even just 20 minutes of exercise can provide mood benefits for up to 12 hours. So, if your child seems unhappy get them off the couch and go for a walk, bike ride or go play with a ball for 20 minutes and see the difference.
Engaging in a team sport where everyone is working together towards a common goal will increase your child’s self esteem and help them feel a part of something. When your child contributes to the team performance through actions and ideas they feel valued and important. Kids who play sports also generally have a better body image and are more positive about their health.
We all develop habits. Some habits are good for us and some are bad. Becoming actively involved in sport encourages a number of positive habits! Such as; regular exercise, teamwork, discipline and the act of developing solutions to problems through critical thinking. These positive habits will serve your child throughout their development and adulthood.
Playing in a team sport requires your child to improve their communication skills. In addition, it helps to develop teamwork qualities at a young age. Communication skills have recently been the focus of various studies. Many scientists and teachers becoming concerned that the increase in technology use is causing deterioration in vital inter-personal communication skills in children. When you are in a team working together towards a common goal your communication skills are constantly being tested and improved.
In the crucial development years of your child it’s important they have positive role models! Furthermore, something to keep them entertained and away from temptations such as drugs, alcohol and anti-social behaviour. Sports programs provide great role models and offer kids a structured environment outside of school to give them something to focus on and work towards that they are passionate about. Quality coaches and mentors can also offer advice! And help to keep your child on track when they are tempted towards heading down the wrong path.
One of the best aspects of playing sport as a child is making new friends. Being a part of a team sport is the best way to find kids that are interested in the same things as your child. Many sporting friendships can last a lifetime and the best part is the relationship is based around a positive activity. So now you know the main benefits of getting involved with a team sports it’s time to find the right sport for your child. At Australian Sports Camps we offer school holiday programs for children aged 6-16 years old, where they can take part in a 3-day program to try a range of different sports in a safe, positive healthy and fun environment. Further reading