For our first post in 2015, guest blogger, Dixie Somers, shares with us how athletics help improve one’s overall health. She speaks specifically on teens, but these important lessons we can all learn from (or be reminded of) at any age. Keep reading to find out these lessons, and if you’re reading for yourself, then just sub “school” for “work.”
Most parents realize how important physical activity is for their growing teen, however, there are dozens of far-reaching benefits that athletics can bring into a teenager’s life. A study by West Virginia University concluded that male students who have not participated in physical activity in the last week are five times more likely to describe their health as poor. This number rises to 30 times more likely for female students. With your help, you can keep your teen from becoming the next statistic.
Organized sports and recreation teach a young person essential life-long lessons, aside from providing an excellent form of exercise. Here are just a few things your teen will gain from participating in recreational sports.
Life Long Nutrition
According to the American Center for Disease Control and Prevention, over 30% of teens are overweight. On top of this, teens are constantly bombarded with mixed messages about nutrition. In order to participate fully in sports, teens have to eat right. With an abundance of junk food at their fingertips, and the growing popularity of eating disorders, teenagers often battle with eating. Playing a sport acts as great motivation to eat nutritious food, or to eat period. Learning to eat properly, sleep correctly and avoid fasting are important lessons that carry on to their adult lives.
Think back to when you were a teenager and you were dealing with all the stresses of fitting in, popularity and appearance. According to the Women’s Sports Foundation, teen girls participating in sports develop a positive self-image. Not only that, they are less likely to become involved in sex and drugs. According to American Public Health Association, this can be the same for males so long as they have an appreciation for their team members and are not idolized in school. If your child struggles to make friends or feel like they belong, joining a team is a great way to give them social interaction that will eventually lead to a new group of friends.
Ethics and Hard Work
Teen sports aren’t just about developing skills for their game. According to the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, those who participate in team sports learn the benefit of working hard, setting goals and following the rules. When teens have a coach they respect, they can learn to listen to authority, and work hard toward a common goal. Additionally, learning to deal with losses is as important as winning with dignity. A teen that learns that losses are a part of life will be able to face any difficult challenges awaiting them later in life.
Sports Makes Better Students
Thousands of research studies all agree that with the right balance, students feel more connected with their school and are motivated to work harder in class if they are participating in sports. Sports give teens the opportunity to be around competitive people and gain an appreciation for hard work. It’s the parent’s job to make sure they find the appropriate balance of sports and studies. At most schools, athletes must maintain a certain grade point average in order to maintain eligibility. In many cases, this motivates some students to succeed, whereas they might not do well in school if they didn’t play sports.
Sports can play a key role in the development of today’s youth. It’s important as a parent to turn those experiences into positive lessons. Whether you’re a coach or spectator, you set the example for your kids on and off the field. It’s your job to balance the passions for your child’s success with important life lessons that will help them thrive in later life.
The information for this article was provided by the professionals at Ohio University who offer an online masters in coaching.
About the Author
Dixie Somers is a freelance writer from Arizona. You can find her on Google+.
What can you add to this article?