Participating in youth sports is a regular part of growing up, for most of us in North America. Physical activity is essential for healthy and optimal development, through childhood and early adulthood, and youth sports provide many opportunities for a physically active routine. Boosting the well-being of kids through this time can help your community’s future, as children who participate in such activities are better adjusted as they enter adulthood, with plenty of life skills and lessons under their belts.
Providing a positive outlet where kids can spend their free time can also help relieve boredom; one of the biggest factors in youth crime. Finally, sporting events can be a great facilitator for community engagement and interaction, helping build stronger bonds within your neighborhoods. Here are some of our picks for why youth sports should be embraced in your community.
Youth sports can have many different positive effects. Regular physical activity in this age group is vital for long-term well-being. According to the World Health Organization, children and youth between the ages of 5 and 17 should have a minimum of an hour of “moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity daily,” with more benefits being found with longer durations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists strong bones and muscles, healthy weight, cardiorespiratory fitness, and a reduction in anxiety and depression, heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and obesity as some of the benefits of physical activity.
Youth Crime Reduction
Many factors play a role in youth crime rates and youth sports can help with some of the key elements. Boredom and a lack of supervision – combined with other risk factors – can provide opportunities for delinquent behavior. Many extracurricular sports are scheduled after school, which can help preoccupy children’s time, while providing a positive, healthy outlet for kids and their energy levels. Being part of sports teams can mean more friends that help in reducing antisocial behavior and further boosting community and school participation. Mentorship and guidance from role models within the community can also help guide students to a positive lifestyle.
Creating Future Role Models
Sports can be a great platform for learning many life skills and lessons. To succeed in team sports, kids have to learn the importance of teamwork, benefiting their social skills. Learning how to take a win or loss can teach valuable lessons on sportsmanship and integrity. High-pressure situations on the field can also teach youth how to succeed in real-life situations. Finally, being involved in youth sports either as a child or as a parent can help build community awareness and appreciation. A vibrant, active community can help influence other citizens of all ages to be more active in their lives, creating a positive cascading effect.
Participating in sports can help increase civic engagement, especially with community centers that are attached to libraries and other municipal resources. Mentorship can be beneficial towards both the mentor and the mentee and may help build positive role models and relationships. Local sports events bring the community together, which can increase social bonds and meaningful connections. Games can act as a regular meeting place for some parents, adding to the connectedness of the community.
What sports did you play when you were growing up? What did you learn from the experience that helped you be a better adult? Let us know on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Google+, to stay up to date with all of your PerfectMind news.