Why Youth Sports Help Kids In Life

Uncategorized Dec 10, 2018

Do you remember playing sports as a kid?

Even if you didn’t play for a school team, you probably played hopscotch or kickball, rode your bike, shot some hoops, swam in a lake, and the list could go on and on.

Kids used to be more active. Unfortunately, now it is estimated that 33% of kids born in the year 2000 or later will suffer with an obesity-related health problem like diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, osteoarthritis, or even cancer.

It is recommended that kids ages 6-17 years old participate in 60 minutes of play every day. Unfortunately, up to 43% of kids today do not meet this recommendation.

Why Are Youth Sports So Important?

Kids who participate in high school sports are:

  • More likely to remain physically active and 1/10 less likely to experience obesity
  • Less likely to smoke, use drugs, and carry weapons
  • Tend to develop better peer-to-peer relationships, experience higher self-esteem, demonstrate better attachment to adults, enjoy a closer sense of family, and volunteer more in their communities
  • More likely to earn better grades in high school
  • More likely to earn a college degree
  • More likely to earn significantly more in income later in life

Resource: http://www.atyourownrisk.org/benefits-of-sports/

How Do You Get Your Kid Involved In Sports?

  • Look to see what sports are offered at your kids’ school - many kids don’t like to play by themselves but if their friends are playing then they might be more encouraged to join in
  • Look to see what your local community offers - if your kid enjoys karate, dance, or swimming but their school doesn’t offer it, then they will most likely be able to join a community club
  • Keep looking - if your kid tries one sport and doesn’t like it then encourage them to try something else, and something else, and keep trying something else
  • If your kid dislikes team sports, look for a sport that is more individualized - track and cross country are team sports but the student-athlete often competes in an event as an individual; karate, dance, gymnastics, ice skating, tennis, golf are other options too
  • If you are short on cash, your kids can still be active - you will just need to be a little more creative - visit the local playground, hike at the park, walk as a family in the neighborhood, play frisbee, dance to music, go to a trampoline park or bounce house (these can be less expensive with coupons!)

What Do You Do If Your Kid Is Not Athletic and Shows Disinterest In Sports?

The real question here is why doesn’t your kid like to participate in sports or physical play?

There are many reasons for a kid’s lack of interest:

  • Poor self-esteem
  • Not coordinated
  • Feels awkward
  • Doesn’t like to sweat or get dirty
  • Fear of failing or being laughed at
  • Hasn’t found the activity they like yet
  • Would rather read a book, play music, or create art

What are the solutions:

  • Find an activity they CAN enjoy AND succeed in
  • Find a safe place to be active where they don’t feel judged
  • Join them in an activity together
  • Seek a specialist

Examples:

  • Decide as a family to set a goal to walk in a local 5k to support a non-profit
    • The goal is support the non-profit not to win the 5k (less pressure this way)
    • The goal is to walk 3x/week to prepare for the 5k
  • Adopt a dog
    • The goal is to rescue a dog from a shelter
    • The goal is to walk the dog 2x/day for 15-20 minutes (a tired dog is a less destructive dog!
  • Do an Exercise Video together
    • The goal is to have fun and be goofy
    • The goal of doing this together at home is it is safe and nonjudgmental
  • Participate in Physical Therapy
    • If your kid feels awkward, experiences growing pains, or seems uncoordinated, then getting a physical therapy evaluation will help your kid learn more about their body and you will learn if they have weakness, inflexibility, or balance problems that can be corrected through specific exercises

It is ideal for kids to participate in youth sports at an early age so that it just becomes a way of life to them. Forming healthy habits is critical in creating optimal health throughout the lifespan.

If you have specific questions or concerns about getting your kids involved in sports or physical play, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I love helping kids and their parents learn that sports and exercise can be fun and safe!

To Your Best Health,

Dr. Jeanette

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