Children are living quite a sedentary lifestyle these days due to a lot of screen time, with all the digital gadgets within their reach. They are usually glued to the TV, computers, mobiles, videogames or tablets. They have forgotten the joy that comes from active play, sports and parents have become too busy with their work to put up a fight.  

Playing outside has become less frequent, even schools mostly focus on academics and not the importance of active play and sports for children. Studies however, show that children who are physically active do better in studies and have higher concentration levels compared with their non-active peers.

A research conducted by the Global Alliance of Health Experts concluded that England was one of the worst countries for active children and got a rating of D minus.

The NHS has also warned us of the consequences of inactivity in children and urges parents to take definite steps to counter it. This is where sports come in. People need to be encouraging their children to play a sport to stay active. They don’t have to be sports stars when they grow up, but at least, they will remain physically fit.

It’s the responsibility of both parents and the schools to introduce them to different sports rather than just pursue academic subjects

Here are some of the major reasons why sports should be a priority for kids.

Stimulates and develops the mind

The brain of an active child develops much better than that of a child who is not active. Active children have better cognitive abilities and memory retention, are able to complete various tasks easily and have quicker reactions. They also develop good social skills, get good grades and are able to sleep well.

Basically, sports help a child advance in all areas of their life. This is why parents and teachers should always encourage them to pick up a sport. The saying “All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy” really holds so much truth to it.

Studies have also proven that regular physical exercise can influence and change the brain structure of children. The brain releases a protein called Brain Derived Neurotropic factor or BDNF in short. This is essential to create nerve connections that aid in learning and retaining information.

Builds strong bones and muscles

Since physical activity helps stimulate the brain, this in turn makes the brain release growth hormones at an optimum level, so the bones and muscles get stronger as well. The body adapts to the physical activity so much that stresses and minor injuries, rather than deter the child, in fact, make them more resilient.

Sports help the bodies of children become more flexible and, less susceptible to joint problems later in life. The bone density increases and therefore, won’t degrade so easily when they are older adults.

Maintains good balance and posture

Active children develop good posture and balance and. Don’t slouch or get tired easily. As their bodies are in motion most of the time, they  develop the stamina and endurance to perform tasks easily that require balance, such as carrying things, climbing etc.

Boosts immunity

Regular exercise and physical activity not only help the body to function and perform better, but they also boosts the immune system. If a child is exposed regularly to the outdoor environment where they play around in the mud and run about in the fresh air where there are other environmental factors such as dust, sand, and water etc, then the body builds resistance and strengthens its immunity against all the bacteria that are present in the environment. This is very essential to a child’s health as there will be less chances of developing allergies or diseases in the future.

Improves cardiovascular health

All exercise and physical activity including sports affect cardiovascular health. This makes the heart pump more blood and the lungs get fresh oxygen to breathe.

Creates a competitive spirit

When children play active sports, this instils in them a sense of competitiveness which is a great trait in order to be successful in life. They strive to become better by working harder and develop strong ambitions, having more focus and determination. Through sports and games, they learn about winning and losing as part of life, and how to become better every time by practice. The point for them to learn is, not to win every time, but to play well every time, regardless of the outcome.

Creates team spirit

A sport always teaches children how to work together as a team in order to bring about the desired result. It fosters friendships and cooperation in order to achieve a common goal. It makes children learn that to survive in a game, they can’t just work alone or be selfish but have to help others as well.

Makes children persistent

Playing sports creates a sense of relentlessness in them and a never-give-up attitude. It shows them the value of constant practice. Sports makes them hone their skills and helps them understand that winning comes from being persistent, constantly practicing and giving their best shot every single time. They learn how to overcome challenges and adversities by being on the playing field under pressure and setting goals in life.

All these aspects show how important it is for parents and schools to encourage children to play sports, for community centres to have good sports facilities for children and schools to have excellent sporting grounds for their students.

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