More than a Goal, Home Run, or an Ace
Participating in sports can reap a variety of benefits for all ages!
Playing a Sport Can Benefit Your Mental Health
Neuroscience is continuing to improve and analyze long term effects of our activities. A variety of studies are beginning to note just how important sports participation can be in cognition. A recent study stated that “Physically fit primary school pupils feel better and can concentrate better. They are more likely to make it to higher-level secondary grammar schools than children with less sporting abilities. This has been confirmed for the first time in a study by the Department of Sport and Health Sciences at the Technical University of Munich (TUM).” The National Library of Medicine stated in an article “recent studies suggest that some specific cognitive abilities of athletes could help them become more effective and improve their chances of success.”
Playing a Sport Can Help You Feel Young
Participating in sport keeps you from having a sedentary lifestyle. A sedentary lifestyle is linked to chronic diseases that often ruin our health as we age. Maintaining activity can also improve cognition, helping you think clearly and stay sharp! It also helps to maintain or increase flexibility. Personally I’d like to see more studies done on older adults and sports. But I can say, after working a men's softball league, these guys work hard, play hard, and many of them are in great shape for their age.
Playing a Sport Can Help Your Young Ones Learn
There are positive effects on a child's health, education, and behavior when participating in sports. Children's grades tend to improve, and they are able to relate to their peers better. In a 2016 Sport and Child Development Study, they phrased these ideas in their conclusion well by stating “Our results highlight the importance of physical activities for children's development. Encouraging children to participate in sports and providing the necessary infrastructure should therefore be, and in many countries already is, an important policy objective”.
Playing a Sport is Great for Your Social Health
As an adult, it can be hard to make connections with people outside of coworkers or old college friends. Picking up pickleball classes, or going to an adult basketball open gym can be a great opportunity to make friends who enjoy competition and movement. As stated in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity “The main findings were that … compared to no participation or participation in individual sports, participation in team sport had resulted in benefits such as lower social anxiety, lower social isolation, better social self-concept, and improved self-esteem”.
Thinking of picking back up that sport you played in highschool? Considering signing up your kids for t-ball? This is your sign to make the jump! Sports are a great way to find a community and to better your health while having fun.
Cites and More Info:
Technical University of Munich (TUM). (2022, April 5). Sport improves concentration and quality of life: Study with primary school pupils confirms positive impact of physical fitness. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 5, 2022 from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/04/220405115234.htm
Felfe C, Lechner M, Steinmayr A. Sports and Child Development. PLoS One. 2016 May 4;11(5):e0151729. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0151729. PMID: 27144474; PMCID: PMC4856309.
Eime, R.M., Young, J.A., Harvey, J.T. et al. A systematic review of the psychological and social benefits of participation in sport for children and adolescents: informing development of a conceptual model of health through sport. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 10, 98 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1186/1479-5868-10-98
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