The Health Benefits of Sports and Physical Activity for Teens
Sports help children learn various physical activities, acquire aerobic exercise, create good friends, get exercise, improve self-confidence, and develop good sportsmanship. Participation in sports helps young people to stay physically fit and provides wonderful rewards for good health. It is also important for kids to learn how to be compassionate and socially responsive. Playing sports builds muscle strength, improves hand-eye coordination, and develops problem solving skills that will be useful throughout life.
Sports provide the opportunity to build motor skills that are necessary to engage in academic and social activity later in life. Physical education should always be a major part of every physical education class in elementary school, because it encourages children to take pride in their bodies and follow a fitness-based routine from pre-school through middle school. Many children today want to play sports as an activity of recreational interest, rather than a time to spend on exercise. This attitude can lead to negative body image and low self-esteem later in life. Participating in sports helps children cultivate physical confidence and self-awareness, as well as social and emotional maturity.
In middle schools and high school, students begin to display signs of physical growth and maturity. During this time, many students begin to display desirable characteristics such as self-control, motivation, discipline, and goal orientation. These traits are learned through positive examples and reinforced through participation in sports. Some sports promote healthy body image and discipline. For example, gymnastics and cheerleading focus on core motor skills, whereas baseball, basketball, football, soccer, tennis, sailing, track and field, swimming, and track and field are all recognized as physically demanding sports.
Activities that promote physical fitness include aerobics, running, walking, weightlifting, stretching, and weight lifting. The development of particular muscles helps build strength, speed, power, and endurance. Many sports provide a competitive environment for teens and young adults. These sports provide an outlet for social interaction, stress relief, and physical fitness.
For children that are entering into a physical contest, sportsmanship is considered a key trait. Competitors strive to achieve a level of competitiveness that will challenge and excel them. For these individuals, sports offer the opportunity to exhibit their ability to use various physical skill to the fullest.
As children enter into adolescence and enter into puberty, they may begin to exhibit unhealthy eating habits and engage in risky sexual behaviors. These unhealthy behaviors usually do not harm the individual physically; however, they do affect their sense of self-worth and cause emotional concerns. Teenagers that engage in excessive sports or physical activities that are seen as childish or silly may experience internal conflicts or negative self-talk. Recognizing these potential warning signs, parents can help to provide the resources necessary to provide their child with the appropriate amount of physical activities and sports that will promote mental health, physical fitness, and emotional well-being.