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How Sports and Exercise Impact Your Health and Well-being - by Sarah Daren

From the Coach’s Clipboard Basketball Playbook
"Helping coaches coach better..."

Sarah Daren is a featured writer on the Today Show website and has been a consultant for organizations across a number of industries including athletics, health and wellness, technology and education. When she's not caring for her children or watching the New York Yankees play, Sarah enjoys practicing yoga and reading a good book on the beach.

Sarah Daren
Sarah Daren

We all know that exercise is good for kids and adults of all ages. But do you know just how sports and exercise can impact your health? Most people aren't aware of how many benefits there are to participating in sports at a young age and continuing to stay active throughout a person's life.

By participating in sports early in life, kids not only get great exercise, they also learn valuable lessons and develop positive traits and habits that can help them excel in school and throughout their adult lives. Children who participate in sports also gain mood and happiness benefits from exercising and working together on a team, which benefits both kids and their parents. Here's what you need to know about how sports and exercise impact your health and well-being from a young age.

Sports and Exercise Promotes Behavioral Well-Being

Attention disorders are a growing problem in schools around the country, and kids' behavior is affected by whether or not they get enough exercise and time outdoors. Playing sports can help children develop improved behavioral wellness. Athletic activities can also help kids manage anxiety or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and cope with their emotions. They also learn skills like teamwork and self-restraint, since they need to be able to compromise and control their behavior to be part of a team.

Things Learned on the Field through Sports Are Lessons for Life

Physical activity is just as beneficial for children's minds as it is for their bodies. According to research, sports teach kids essential life skills. Playing on a team helps improve children's emotional well-being and teaches them how to lose (and win) gracefully. Kids build self-esteem and learn how to channel their emotions in healthy ways so they can become better communicators and team players later in life. Team sports create lasting friendships that teach kids valuable lessons about friendships and the give and take of human relationships.

looks like a top student leader

Participating in Sports Builds Leadership Skills

Playing sports can help people develop leadership skills and confidence. Some people have no idea that they are able to take on leadership roles until they are in a setting that encourages the development of these skills. Many people who can be part of a team strengthen their interpersonal skills and are able to excel in other areas. Gaining discipline and communication skills through team sports early in life can help kids excel in other leadership roles in their future.

Research has shown that participating in sports can boost mental health, happiness, and well-being. This is partly due to the benefits of exercise on mood, relaxation, and well-being, but it is also due to the social benefits of playing on a team with others.

The social benefits of sports are well-documented. Kids get to be part of a tight-knit group with a clear goal to motivate them and bring them together. They learn to listen to others, cooperate with one another, and avoid selfish behavior. However, parents always need to make playing sports a positive experience and avoid putting too much pressure on children. Some parents become extremely competitive and place their own wants above their child's. Playing a sport should be fun and rewarding for children, not stressful.

fun is playing youth team sports

Sports and Exercise Improve More Than Your Physical Health and Well-being

It's no secret that exercise is important for our physical health. But there's a lot more to how sports and exercise impact your health and well-being than just staying fit, trim, and physically healthy. For young people, sports can mean the difference between isolation and having a close-knit group of friends. It can help stabilize mood and help kids' behavior. It can even help build important skills and habits that kids can use later in life. Kids who start exercising from an early age are more likely to keep it up as they get older.

Not every child is going to become the next big professional athlete. But that's not the point of youth sports. The point is building up kids physical and mental health, giving them an outlet, and helping them to build skills they'll use for the rest of their lives. Oh, and it's a great way for them to have fun with their friends!

Articles by Sarah Daren