Benefits of Participating in Sports
Western culture and sports go hand in hand. From the time we’re old enough to walk, many of our parents expect us to participate in some sort of sport, even if it’s only for a year or two. So, what does participation in sports actually do for us? Is it all about gaining a sense of competition, or is there more to it than that? This week we will be discussing the physical, mental, social, and emotional benefits of participating in sports.
The physical benefits of playing sports are fairly obvious. Teens and young adults who are active remain in better shape and struggle less with health issues later in life. Physical activity also tends to encourage healthier eating. Gaining these habits at a younger age will make it easier to retain them as life goes on.
People who participate in sports also tend to do better in school. Many believe that the opposite is the case as sports can be very intensive and time consuming. However, sports encourage the development of skills in memorization, focus, and repetition, each of which can be applied in the classroom. On top of that, exercise in general is extremely beneficial to the mind, allowing for decreased stress and better focus.
Participation in sports gives students an incredible opportunity to socialize. Research shows that friendships developed on sports teams tend to be much more wholesome. Athletic teens are more likely to avoid smoking, underage pregnancies, drugs, and alcohol. While these trends are more noticeable amongst girls, boys experience these benefits to some extent as well.
Last, but certainly not least, participation in sports improves self-confidence and decreases stress. With the seemingly ever-increasing presence of anxiety and depression amongst adolescents, many researchers have been working to find a variety of ways to help teens overcome these struggles. Physical activity has been found to be one of the best ways to do so. While it is not a cure-all, it has been shown to improve a person’s mental state and decreases mental and emotional health issues.
So even if you prefer to avoid competition, taking opportunity to participate in sports and other physical activities (even if it’s just for fun) includes amazing benefits. In the next week we invite you to try something new, whether it be a competition sport or Zumba, and see if you can see any improvements in your well-being. Even one activity a week can make a huge impact.