We can think of a long list of reasons why kids need more opportunities to be physically active.
Moving and playing helps them stay happy and healthy, channeling their energy in a positive direction, and building their social skills and self-confidence.
Unfortunately, we’re seeing trends in youth sports and play move in the wrong direction. According to State of Play 2017, research from the Sports & Fitness Industry Association and the Aspen Institute:
- The number of kids ages 6 to 12 who play team sports on a regular basis is declining – 36.9% in 2016, down from 41.5% in 2011
- The percentage of kids who are considered active to a healthy level is also going down – 24.8% in 2016, compared to 28.7% in 2011
But there’s some good news as well. State of Play reported:
- The percentage of kids who were completely inactive decreased from 18.8% in 2011 to 17.9% in 2016
- Good coaches make a big difference, lowering kids’ anxiety levels and boosting their self-esteem. One study found that 5% of kids who played for trained coaches quit the sport the next year, while 26% quit otherwise.
- Organizations around the country are doing work to help children – regardless of ability, location or demographic – to stay active through free play, local sports leagues, and other opportunities
We’re encouraged by these hopeful updates, and we’re happy to play a small role in helping kids fall in love with sports.
Here are just a few of the benefits of youth sports participation:
- Staying physically fit
Sports help kids build healthy muscles, joints, and bones, as well as prevent chronic diseases and maintain a healthy weight.
- Making fitness a priority for life
Children and adolescents who exercise regularly are more likely to be physically active throughout their entire lives.
- Improving behavior and performance in school
Sports help kids develop their cognitive skills, and physical activity is associated with better grades, test scores, concentration and classroom behavior.
- Boosting personal development
Physical activity can have positive effects on self-esteem, leadership, and goal-setting skills. Student athletes are also less likely to participate in risky behaviors, like drug use, smoking, and unsafe sex.
- Maintaining good mental health
Among teenagers, research has found a correlation between regular exercise and better mental health.
We strongly believe that all children deserve the chance to participate in sports – and that they’ll reap lifelong benefits if they do.
Learn more about the Swim Thru Life philosophy of Tom Dolan Swim School