The evidence is clear—physical fitness is an important part of growing up healthy.
Regular exercise helps promote good mental and emotional health, while stemming the childhood obesity epidemic, which has more than doubled in the last 30 years. The statistics for obesity in adolescents are even worse.
“By now, I don’t think anyone is surprised that regular exercise is good for children and inactivity is places them at risk for illnesses later in life, but when you take a moment to consider the data in-depth for children who exercise and play organized sports, the details of a child’s future come to life,” says Danyel Surrency Jones, president of Power To Give and co-founder of Powerhandz Inc., a company specializing in athletic training products to improve performance in baseball, basketball and football.
Danyel and her business partner and husband, Darnell Jones, a former professional basketball player, want kids in their community and beyond to benefit from the values learned from youth sports. That’s why they created the Power To Give program, which helps kids from all over access sports programs that build healthy habits.
“We believe in the power of sports to change a kid’s life for the better,” says Darnell.
Organized sports cultivate a positive attitude. Sports are demanding. Come game time, a young athlete wouldn’t last long with a negative mindset. “Practice is no cakewalk either,” Darnell says. “As adults, we understand the need to hype ourselves before hitting the gym. The rewarding feeling we get walking out from the gym is similar to what young people feel after a game or tough practice.”
Youth sports offer a sense of accomplishment, confidence and self-esteem. As the CDC noted, simply being physically active builds self-esteem. We are physical beings who are not meant to sit in front of a video game for several consecutive hours. “Again, if you’re a physically active adult, you feel that sense of accomplishment in outdoing your last performance at the gym,” Danyel says. “Kids feel a similar way learning new skills and succeeding in a game, except more so.”
Team sports Build better peer relationships. Kids want to fit in, but it’s not always easy. Organized sports hurdles the high wall of social awkwardness so many children feel. Team sports such as baseball, basketball and football demand participants to work together for a common goal, which is a valuable lesson some adults still haven’t learned.
Active kids show more restraint in avoiding risky behavior. Ideally, parents can get their children engaged – in anything that’s productive, really. Bored or disengaged children have a way of getting into trouble. A student is less likely to misbehave in class or break the law if it means getting kicked off the team of a sport they love.
Sports foster greater family bonds and frequent interactions with parents. Famous athletes say it all the time, “Thanks Mom. Thanks for driving me to and from practice, and thanks for showing up at the games.” And that doesn’t even count helping a child with actual practice – playing catch, squaring off one-on-one, etc. Sports help families bond in more ways than one.