Physical activity is very important for children. And playing a sport is the best way to become physically active because not only does it engage the body – it also grows the mind.
How do sports help the body
The body was made for movement. And the body of a child gains tremendously from being physically active.
- An active child has a healthy appetite.
- A child who plays a sport will be hungry and eat healthy food without complaining or asking for junk food
- Sport is a great way to let go of stress. One of the easiest way to relieve stress is to move the body. And there is no better way to move the body than to play a sport.
- When a child plays a sport she/he inhales large amounts of air and this leads to better oxygenation of the lungs, which results in better oxygenation of each cell of the body. Each cell thus functions better.
- The vigorous movement of the body during sports results in better blood circulation which results in nutrition from the gastrointestinal tract and oxygen from the cells reaching each cell of the body.
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How do sports help the mind
Sports teach discipline
Discipline is the most effective route to reaching goals and achieving success. Discipline involves doing what you need to do even when you don’t want to do it. And when a child plays a sport it instantly becomes clear how much impact disciplined practice has. Sports provides instant feedback. Children discover that if they practice their backhand in tennis for example – instead of watching TV will win more points in the very next game. Children then realize that the same discipline when applied to studying can get them better results in school. This may be difficult for them to understand if they are only studying because the time gap between disciplined study and a good report card may be too far for them to make the connection.
Sports teach focus.
When a child is able to focus or concentrate – it helps her/him move towards better grades faster and achieve success more rapidly. It is much easier to build focus while playing a sport because in sport children learn by doing. To learn while doing a child has to employ her/his observational skills, she/he also has to decide quickly and assess situations accurately. All this improves focus and also teaches the value of focus to the child. A child who has learnt how to focus in sport can easily translate the focus to academics.
Sports improve motivation.
One of the biggest obstacles to success is the absence of internal motivation. Where internal motivation is the desire to persist at doing something for the sheer joy of performing better. It is much easier to keep internal motivation alive when the results of the hard work are apparent immediately. In sport – the results of hard work are easier to see and that keeps internal motivation alive. When a child discovers internal motivation in the sphere of sports, she/he is also likely to find it in academics.
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Sports teach teamwork,
Nothing can be achieved alone in life. Working with others – recognizing and harnessing the strengths of your team and making allowances and adjustments to accommodate their weaknesses is the key to success in any real life situation. And these qualities of getting along with others – is very easily learnt when children play a sport – especially a team sport. Because in a team sport – the success of the team is more important than the success of the individual. And children quickly learn how to cooperate to win.
Children learn to overcome obstacles with sports.
Life is not a straight road. No matter what you do – there are sure to be challenges that you need to overcome. And nothing can teach you how to face challenges and overcome them like sports can. The essence of sport is – to find challenges and overcome them through sheer grit and persistence – whether it is a match you need to win – a record you need to break or a new peak you need to climb. Playing a sports makes children unafraid of challenges. A child who plays a sport learns to welcome challenges.
Sports teaches goal setting.
Setting a goal is the first step towards success. If you don’t know what you want – how will you achieve it. And most children falter when setting the right goals. Playing a sport teaches children to make an accurate assessment of their ability and set achievable incremental goals that ultimately lead to success. So a child who is used to running 3 km will aim at 5 km initially then 7 km and finally 10 km. She/he will learn to apply the same thing when attempting to improve math scores. The goal will go from 30 to 50 to 70 to 100. And these will be an achievable goals.
Sports teaches leadership
Being able to lead without fear and being able to lead with empathy – is the key to success. Sports teaches leadership like nothing else can. When a child is on the field she/he must lead and be led and transition between leader and follower smoothly. To lead with humility and to follow without a feeling of inferiority is something children learn easily when they play sports.
Sports teaches children to handle failure.
Failure is inevitable – especially if you want to succeed and conquer new frontiers. And children who do not know how to cope with failure. Children who cannot pick themselves up when they fall down and children who are crushed by failure can never succeed. Children who play a sport understand that failure is a part of life. They know that some days you win – but some days you lose as well. And their losses only make them more determined to strive for success the next time through hard work. This is precious learning for a child and help the child in every challenge that she/he comes across in life
Sports helps children to cope with competition
Coping with competition – thriving in competition – enjoying competition – are the dominant characteristics of winners. And it is easiest to build these characteristics and make them an inseparable part of your child’s character when your child is on the sports field. Sports is meaningless without competition. It is no fun to run a race with a child who cannot run at all. So a child who plays a sport will always enjoy the company of those who are better than her/him at a game. She/he will seek out to admire and emulate the qualities of players who are more skilled and accomplished. Playing sport will then help your child not just to cope with competition – but to seek out competition – and better the competition
Sports teaches children the value of hard work
There is no alternative to hard work – no matter what you do in life. And sports shows you instantly how hard work can change things with immediate effect. Playing a sport teaches children that whatever you work hard – you will be good at. When you do something enough times – you will be good at it. And also that no matter how talented you are at something – a person who works hard at the same thing will be able to beat you at it if you don’t hone your talent with hard work. Because it is so easy to see the value of hard work in sports – it is imperative that every child plays a sport.
Sports keep the body and mind healthy. They also build character and teach many life lessons in a fun setting. It is therefore important for every child to play a sport.