Everyone talks about the importance of fitness and exercise for kids – including us. Today lets discuss the benefits of sports for students. Playing a sport is a great way for children to take a break from academics and release the pent-up energy. It also helps them lead fuller and happier lives as regular sports and fitness activities have proven to provide not only physical benefits but also social and psychological benefits to children.
Below, we have compiled a comprehensive list of the benefits of sports for students and what your child will gain by playing sports or indulging in regular physical activity. By the end of this article, you will be enrolling your kid in a fitness programme for sure!
Character Building Traits
Several studies suggest playing sports develops a child’s self-confidence and self-esteem. A pat on the back, high-five from a teammate, or handshake after a match really boosts a child’s confidence. Words of praise and encouragement from the coach, parents and other players raise the self-esteem. An important thing to remember is that a child’s self-esteem should not be distinguished by victory or loss. Constructive criticism is key to children accepting and working on their weaknesses. It also helps when you ask ‘did you enjoy the game?’ rather than “did you win?”
We know how emotions run high in sports – whether watching a sport or playing it. Channeling negative emotions can be tough for children and a good coach will help them realize how negative emotional stress could hurt their performance. Such wisdom ingrained earlier on in life will help them deal with other life challenges later on.
Every sport requires some mental, physical and tactical discipline. Following rules, obeying the coach, practicing restraint, etc. are all forms of discipline children learn through sports. Discipline enables people to reach their full potential and realize their goals – a trait prevalent in all successful people.
Kids playing sports learn to interact not only with kids their age, but also with the older and younger players on the team, the coach, sports authorities, etc. They also develop a sense of belonging and get an opportunity to make new friends. These communication and social skills help them in their future relationships and careers.
Practice plays a large role in improving performance in any sport or activity. ‘Practice makes you perfect’ but guess what practice and perfection need? Patience. Athletics teach kids how to keep practicing and be patient in order to see the results.
Just like patience and practice, sports also need perseverance and dedication. There are highs and lows during practice sessions and matches. Kids learn to power through and persevere even during the bad times, thus becoming more resilient. Practicing perseverance at a young age gives them better coping skills and critical thinking skills to face bigger adversities in the future.
In sports, just like in life, one cannot win all the time. Playing a sport teaches children this truth early on in life. Therefore, children learn how to accept defeat and lose graciously. They learn how not to get disheartened and to get back up and try again. It also teaches them about healthy competition.
“There’s no I in team”. Children learn that the team cannot win unless they all work together and play to each other’s strengths. They also learn how to become less selfish and not let ego get the best of them. Working together is an important trait in today’s life and learning how to do so early on helps kids become better team players in professional life.
Following a set of rules, accepting decisions and taking direction is a big part of playing any sport. Through playing a game, children learn how to respect coaches, referees, peers and other elders.
Becoming captain or aspiring to become one, naturally teaches children how to become good leaders – how to talk to other teammates, manage team emotions, take one for the team, etc. They also put these skills to use outside the pitch or court making them good leaders that others want to follow.
Sports teaches children to take care of their bodies through proper food choices and stretching. It also instills such fitness habits in them that they carry forward into adulthood, keeping any health problem at bay.
Reduced risk of obesity
The more active a person is, the more calories the person will burn. Fitness helps in preventing fat to be accumulated in the body and reducing the risk of obesity and obesity-related diseases.
Increased cardiovascular fitness
The heart is a muscle. And just like other muscles, its performance and endurance improves when regularly challenged with physical exercise. The heart becomes stronger and more efficient when children play sports. A strong heart means a reduced risk of heart disease.
Physical stress caused by exercise helps muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones to become healthier and stronger. The bone density also increases, reducing the risk of osteoporosis – a condition which makes the bones porous and fragile.
The more you exercise, the more efficient your lungs become, thus increasing their capacity. This means, the lungs start drawing in more oxygen and expelling out more carbon dioxide and other gasses. Regular exercise also helps prevent the decline in oxygen intake that occurs naturally with age or inactivity.
Reduces blood sugar levels
Exercise triggers muscles to use up the sugar in the bloodstream by turning the glucose into energy. This helps in keeping sugar levels down and reduces the risk of developing diabetes.
Regulates blood pressure
Exercise is one of the best remedies to reduce stress levels. As stress goes down, the blood pressure also goes down, reducing the risk of heart disease. Regular sport activities also reduce the amount of harmful cholesterol and fats in the blood, contributing to regulating the blood pressure.
Improves energy levels
Regular exercise makes people more energetic in general and reduces the likelihood of getting tired during the day.
Improves co-ordination and balance
Playing any sport requires some hand-eye and foot-eye co-ordination. As children learn a new sport, their co-ordination and balance improve remarkably.
Helps prevent cancer
Research shows that regular fitness activities lowers the incidence of cancer especially cancers of the colon, prostate, uterine and breast.
Physical exertion improves sleep quality and duration. It also reduces the risk of developing sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, insomnia and restless leg syndrome.
Reduces chronic muscular tension
As muscles expand and contract with regular exercise, they also have a greater physical ability to relax and recover. Thus, chronic muscular tensions such as headache, back ache, etc. are avoided.
Physical stimulation releases beta-endorphins, a substance hundred times more potent than morphine. It also increases the levels of serotonin in the central nervous system causing an increase in appetite, and the feeling of well-being. Serotonin also reduces mental depression. The loss in weight through exercise further accentuates the feeling of happiness.
Participating in athletics has been known to improve the cognitive and memory functions of the brain, helping kids perform better in tests and academics. Further, traits such as discipline and perseverance also play an important part in better academic performance.
Find their passion
Some kids who perform exceptionally well in a sport and enjoy it thoroughly decide to turn their talent into their passion and career. Such passion gained early on helps them develop their focus and work towards achieving their dream.
Stay on the right track
Playing a sport requires some discipline and dedication. It also means lesser free time to spare. Due to this, kids are less likely to take in to bad habits such as smoking. They also get more exposure to positive role models who help them broaden their horizons and make better life decisions.
Hope to see your child on the field soon!