For the most part they’re fun and everyone has a blast playing them, but sports participation can serve other very important purposes as well. The benefits of playing sports go far beyond the obvious. The experts say sports can help children physically, socially, emotionally, and academically.
Kids get important exercise that will help them stay at a healthy weight and be physically fit while participating in a sport. This can stave off common problems among overweight people like diabetes and heart problems. Good exercise also gives children a strong start in life by strengthening bones and muscles. They also improve their balance, coordination, flexibility, and endurance.
Team sports can help kids learn how to follow directions, how to cooperate with their teammates, and how to develop friendships. Participation in sports can also teach children about being “good sports”—helping them develop the ability to show appreciation and respect to others for their accomplishments and to empathize with those who may not be as successful.
Kids who play sports get a chance to let out some pent up energy and this leads to a great reduction in stress, especially after test days at school. This helps decrease the chance they will experience depression and actually helps their mood. They can also gain a sense of self-esteem and get that feeling of accomplishment much more often.
Children who play sports must practice focusing and paying attention. If they learn to do that easily in a fun environment, they will know how to call on that skill when they are sitting in a classroom. They also learn how to set and achieve goals, use problem solving skills, and obtain time-management skills.