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How Sports and Activities Benefit Kids Health

Updated on September 5, 2014
Sports balls
Sports balls | Source

Lessons Learned

Extracurricular activities can be enormously effective tools for helping children obtain valuable skills that will help them in many areas of their lives.

A good work ethic, commitment, compromise, and self-empowerment are just a few of the character traits children will learn and use in their adult lives as well. Kids absorb many useful things from their families and school but certain lessons can only be learned through the experience of working with their peers.

Everyone Needs to Belong

If your child is active in something that he or she is interested in they will most likely do really well at it. This will boost their confidence, self-esteem, and drastically reduce the chances that they will need to participate in dangerous behavior just to feel included somewhere else.

Everyone needs to feel accepted. Humans are not singular creatures. If you child doesn’t feel like an important part of a positive social activity or group, they will find another group to fit in with.

There will always be negative influences waiting to attract more followers and kids who feel left out of other groups will do whatever it takes to belong somewhere. This usually means they get exposed to drugs, alcohol or criminal activity by these groups and it’s hard to resist and stand up for themselves when they fear rejection.

This can be a very dangerous reality for those kids who feel alone and disconnected.

Peer pressure is a reality while a child is in school and sometimes even after graduation. This pressure can be negative or positive, so why not make it work in their favor?

Drawing pad and pencils
Drawing pad and pencils | Source

Many different Choices

There are many different types of activities kids and teens can participate in.

Some examples are:

  • sports
  • student government
  • art classes
  • writing
  • dance classes
  • swimming
  • video production
  • instrument
  • cooking... the list goes on.

Check your local community center and school for available classes or leagues in your area.

If your child just doesn’t seem interested in joining anything on their own, sign the two of you up for something just for the experience of it. It doesn’t have to be anything either of you are really good at or even deeply interested in. A zumba or weight training class would be a fun and active way for the two of you to create some lasting memories as well as being a part of something.

Signing up to volunteer at the local food bank or community pea patch is another great way to get involved in something. The point is to seek out something that would be fun and separate from all the boring things that have to be done every day. Who knows, it may even spark an interest that leads to something else and an opportunity to mean some amazing people.

Note pad and journal with pencils
Note pad and journal with pencils | Source

How It Helps Education

When kids are involved in activities through their school, they are often required to keep their grades at a certain level. Grades often improve for kids who belong to a team or group simply because they are learning how good it feels to accomplish things and get positive reinforcement. Achieving academically is celebrated and supported when teenagers are on a sports team or in a club.

To all of the kids who aren’t a part of a club or team, there seems to be a stigma to getting good grades. It is common for these kids to get teased for doing class work and get called a nerd for excelling.

Responsibility and Commitment

When kids are a part of a positive group they have a certain responsibility to that group. There will be times when they want to skip practice or a meeting but, they won’t because there are usually consequences. Common examples include: they can’t play in the game or participate in a certain performance if they don’t honor their obligation.

Often the other areas of their lives get more organized as well. School work, physical health, and chores are taken more seriously and get done without dispute. When their social activity is at stake, they aren’t taking any chances of getting restricted from it.

The responsibility and commitment they learn during this time will follow them into adulthood. These lessons will be evident in their work ethic and personal relationships.

Baseball glove and baseball
Baseball glove and baseball | Source

Kids Physical health

Children from the ages of 6 to 19 should exercise 60 minutes per day. Fresh air and physical exertion are great for the heart and metabolism. Sports, swim team, and dance classes are great ways to get the heart beat up and the adrenaline pumping.

Even if the activity or club that your child chooses to be involved in is sedentary, it can still help their physical health. When kids are distracted with something they enjoy, they are less likely to mindlessly eat in front of the TV or computer. They will also be more likely to take better care of their brains and bodies so they can perform to the best of their ability.

Kids who feel like they belong to something and are important to others have a significantly lower percentage of depression also. Between school work and raging hormones it’s not surprising that kids sometimes feel like nothing they do matters. When they know that they are an important contributor to a team or club and people are counting on them, it gives them power to push through the occasional loneliness and despair. Another important benefit that shouldn’t be overlooked is the adrenaline rush that comes with achievement. This is a natural high that no drug can possibly compete with!

Social Skills For Life

Social Skills are learned behaviors that kids are exposed to as toddlers and will continue to learn through adulthood.

Social clubs and teams are a perfect place to learn compassion, empathy and patients. Learning effective conflict resolution is another benefit of working as a team. When a group of peers works closely together they are bound to have disagreements and in turn, they learn how to compromise and resolve problems. The process of working with peers toward a common goal, and then achieving that goal is a bond that can’t be duplicated.

These are all very important lessons that will serve them well in adulthood as well. The more time kids spend in a particular group, the more loyal and committed they become to the other kids.

Electric Guitar
Electric Guitar | Source

Time Management Skills

Kids who are committed to a team or club have time constraints that they need to work within. They have to have a plan and are usually more productive than kids who have less to do. There are only so many hours in the day so they need to work smart and they usually learn this very quickly.

Between school, meetings or practice, homework, and dating, time runs out pretty quick. It is important to have a well-rounded life so in order to fit it all in, these kids learn to use their time wisely and be more productive.

Planning ahead and effectively managing time is a huge asset to any person, regardless of their age.

Self-Empowerment

One of the most important gifts that children get from extracurricular activities is self-empowerment.

There is no sweeter satisfaction than that of a job well done. Whether their team finally wins a game, they got the yearbook done right under the dead line, or they finally ran the 100m dash in under 13 seconds, the feeling of accomplishment is the same. Most kids hear messages about the importance of working hard but when they experience it first hand, they will never forget how great it feels.

When kids and teens realize they actually can attain anything they are willing to work for, it’s irreplaceable.

Do You or Your Children Participate In Any Teams Or Activities?

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Everything In Moderation

Social activities can provide some incredibly useful tools that young people will use for the rest of their lives. They can also create some amazing experiences and lasting memories.

That being said, it is extremely important to remember that great things are only great in moderation.

Even positive experiences can be done to excess and cause the opposite reaction. Children who are over scheduled or stressed because they are over committed, run the risk of sever rebellion and break down. I

t’s impossible to do anything well if they are spread too thin. All of the positive benefits and intentions of extracurricular activities will be lost if there is too much pressure to perform or too many activities going on simultaneously.

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    • alliemacb profile image

      alliemacb 5 years ago from Scotland

      An interesting hub. There are so many ways that taking part in sports activities can improve quality of life. Voted up.

    • Robie Benve profile image

      Robie Benve 5 years ago from Ohio

      So true! Extracurricular activities are a great way to increase self-confidence and belonging. When they find the thing that they truly enjoy, it can become a passion for the rest of their life.Sometimes the children can even learn about a skill they did not know to have.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      You listed some interesting activities, especially like the student government and video production. These are great for building future careers. Sports is one that parents should include because it benefits the total being. Great advice! Voted up.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      roxanne459....Sports and ACTIVITIES? WOW....many years, many miles....games...lessons....hobbies. Thought I'd run myself into a skeleton, with 4 sons.

      You brought back some wonderful memories. If this accounts for good heslth (and of course we know it does) this group is as healthy as can be!!

      The next generation is doing the same and MORE. Thankfully, now as "GramDawg", I can SIT & ENJOY!!!!!

      Great hub as always, roxanne. Up ++ PEACE!

    • roxanne459 profile image
      Author

      Roxanne Lewis 5 years ago from Washington

      Thank you alliemacb!

    • roxanne459 profile image
      Author

      Roxanne Lewis 5 years ago from Washington

      Robie, you are right! You never know how it will turn out until you try something new. :)

    • roxanne459 profile image
      Author

      Roxanne Lewis 5 years ago from Washington

      There are so many opportunities for kids and teens to try a variety of different things. Everyone can find the perfect fit for them if they just try.

    • roxanne459 profile image
      Author

      Roxanne Lewis 5 years ago from Washington

      We are still in the midst of those days here at our house! :) Baseball is the current activity of choice but we can't forget boxing, or art club, or choir, or basketball, or ..... Ahh!

      It really is worth it though! The kids learn so much. Thank you fpherj48!

    • profile image

      summerberrie 5 years ago

      roxanne459, I am enjoying your hubs...they really are family centered. You are so right about moderation. Even the best intentions can backfire if parents do not recognized when their children are over stressed.

    • Mmargie1966 profile image

      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      This hub is well written and covers everything important! I voted in your poll, but in reality it is in the past. My kids are grown, but they were both very active all through school. That certainly allowed them opportunities, lessons learned, and responsibility!

      I would vote impressed, but there isn't a button for that...so I voted awesome!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 5 years ago from Georgia

      So true! My daughters were into gymnastics, horses, cross-country running, and show choir. I think it helped keep them out of trouble. lol. Voted up!

    • roxanne459 profile image
      Author

      Roxanne Lewis 5 years ago from Washington

      summerberrie, thank you so much for your imput! I really respect your opinion and again... you are so right!

    • roxanne459 profile image
      Author

      Roxanne Lewis 5 years ago from Washington

      Thank you Mmargie1966, your kids were very lucky! There is so much to learn and benefit from doing fun stuff, it's a win win. :)

    • roxanne459 profile image
      Author

      Roxanne Lewis 5 years ago from Washington

      Thank you habee, sounds like your daughters kept you pretty busy. I can totally relate! It's all totally worth it though :)

    • profile image

      kelleyward 4 years ago

      I also agree that sports are very important for kids. I agree that as adults we should all find fun ways to remain healthy and active. Thanks for sharing this! Voted up, useful, and Shared! Take care, Kelley

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

      Very interesting hub. I am the Extended Services Co-ordinator at the school I work at - I get lots of sports ad exercise classes organised, the kids all love them.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 4 years ago from Dubai

      I totally agree, sports and actvities are very important for wholesome development of an individual. Book knowledge alone is not enough. Voted up. Interesting and useful.

    • adjkp25 profile image

      David 4 years ago from Northern California

      I couldn't agree with you more on this one. I am very thankful that both of our kids are active, I wouldn't have it any other way.

      Voted up and useful

    • roxanne459 profile image
      Author

      Roxanne Lewis 4 years ago from Washington

      Thank you! :-)

    • lmpounds profile image

      Lauren 4 years ago from St. Louis

      Absolutely agree. Great read. I am a huge activist for children in sports. I coach girls gymnastics I see the benefits daily. Voted up!

    • roxanne459 profile image
      Author

      Roxanne Lewis 4 years ago from Washington

      There is no greater gift than giving your time and attention to a child. Thank you Impounds :)

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