We all know how important exercise is for everyone, kids and adults alike. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, kids aged 6 to 17 should get a minimum of one hour of physical activity each day, including aerobic, muscle-strengthening and bone-strengthening exercise. That may seem like a lot, but as any mom knows, it’s not; things like jumping on the beds, making obstacle courses out of the couch cushions and running through the kitchen while you’re cooking all count toward the daily requirement. Still, if your kids are prone to couch-potatoitis, you may be concerned that they’re not getting the physical activity necessary for good health now and into the future.
Signing your child up for sports not only helps him get his body moving (in a way that does not promote insanity in mom!), but carries a host of other benefits as well:
- He’ll learn about teamwork. When kids join team sports, they learn that there is no “I” in team. Kids need to depend on one another, help each other and accept each child’s strengths and weaknesses.
- He’ll learn about good sportsmanship. They’ve heard that it’s not about whether you win or lose… and playing sports drives the message home, as they’ll most likely gain experience with both winning and losing.
- He’ll have fun! Games and practices will give him something to look forward to each week.
- He may be more likely to stay out of trouble. Preteens and teenagers who have hobbies may be less likely to succumb to peer pressure and the temptation to experiment with alcohol and drugs.
- He’ll gain the benefits of regular exercise, which include better sleep, a healthy blood pressure, a healthy weight, increased body awareness and better self esteem.
- He may do better in school; whether it’s from increased health, better sleep or the concentration that is necessary for good physical coordination, kids who participate in physical activity often see an improvement in their grades.
- He’ll learn new skills, which may lay the framework for a life filled with hobbies that keep him physically active.
In many areas of the country, sign-ups for summer sports and activities are beginning right now. Talk to your child about what type of physical activity he might want to participate in, and consider signing him up for one (or more) of these programs, if he’s not already involved in a sport. Over the next few days, we’ll also be talking about things to watch out for and how to choose the right sport or program for your child.
What sports does your child participate in, and what benefits have you seen?