Sports are a popular way to have fun and get the body moving. Bringing people together for a time of healthy competition, it is enjoyed by families, students, and competitive sportspeople all around the world.
Many kids love playing sports purely because of the excitement they get from it. But parents can also take heart in knowing that sports confer numerous health benefits to their children. As children run, kick, and throw, they develop coordination and fitness. Not to mention, many sports are intense cardiovascular workouts, which is vital for heart health.
However, what many people miss out on mentioning are the other types of advantages that playing sports bring. As social and rule-based activities, sports are also effective in developing emotional and mental traits in young minds. Here are the benefits you can expect when your child commits to playing sports regularly:
- Sports activities are a mood-booster
You may have heard that exercise releases hormones like endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin – these are mood-regulating hormones that work together to dispel stress and invoke a ‘feel-good’ sensation. By getting a good workout, the muscles feel more relaxed, which makes the brain feel less tense. Adding to that, the competitive nature of sports can give athletes a sense of achievement every time they meet a new personal best, score a goal, or win a match.
The mood-enhancing effects of playing sports is a useful one to have as one grows older and meets with more challenges and complex emotions in life. Thus, taking part in sports activities is a worthwhile recreational pursuit to continue even after childhood.
- Game play promotes strategic thinking
Every sport is governed by rules and a key to winning the game. Thus, sportspeople exercise their brain constantly with strategies of how to win the game. Sometimes, this requires observational skills to analyse the situation and one’s opponents. Sportspeople also need to plan, bank on their strengths, and coordinate with their team to achieve their goals.
As such, sports games are excellent for developing strategic thinking and planning skills. These critical skills involved in problem-solving and innovation are also widely applicable in other areas of life, such as business and entrepreneurship.
- Playing sports teach resilience
Sportspeople are awe-inspiring examples of perseverance. On the physical aspect, they push themselves constantly to become fitter, faster, and stronger every week. However, this will not be possible without their mental capacity to motivate themselves. Athletes are trained to learn from failure and persist despite them. Even when met with tiredness and aches, they can overcome their situation with their unwavering mindset.
The spirit of persevering regardless of circumstances is an admirable one that will bring your little ones far in life. Learning how to push on despite challenges is a key trait in those who eventually excel in their endeavours.
- Sports involvement develops sportsmanship
Winning and losing is part and parcel of the sports journey, but what matters more is how people behave when they win or lose. Participants in sports will know that it is not right to jeer at your opponents, or employ dishonest tricks to win the game. Children who play sports are taught how to accept and learn from their losses, and how to celebrate victories in a respectful way to their opponents.
The qualities of respect and integrity are also highly regarded in life. Rather than resorting to underhanded means to achieve one’s goals, children will learn through sports of the value of diligent, honest work.
- Team sports cultivate leadership skills
Many games are team-based and require tight teamwork for successful results. When children participate in team sports, they are given opportunities to learn how to communicate and lead in a team. You don’t have to be a captain to have the leading role – every team member can influence the team, be it through encouragement, helping one another, or taking part in the strategising.
Even outside the sporting context, these skills remain useful in managing and leading people. The experience of team-play in sports can build the foundation for future leaders and game-changers in the world.
It is evident that the mental and social developmental benefits of sporting activities are invaluable for children. The best thing is, children love sports! These advantages are good reasons to implement family sports days, or to sign your child up for a sports club. It might also help to ensure your child’s school has a strong sporting culture, especially if your child wishes to pursue sports in the long-term, whether recreationally or competitively.
Some schools, like the Canadian International School in Singapore (CIS), are known for their robust sports activities, which usually includes popular sports like swimming, basketball, netball, and football. As one of Singapore’s best IB schools for sports activities, CIS presents a nurturing and rigorous environment that is excellent training ground for the budding sportsperson. A top international school like CIS will give your child the opportunity to further their sporting abilities while allowing them to pursue a quality IB education in Singapore.
With ample platforms for your child to pick up and develop their sporting abilities, you can be confident that your child will reap these fine benefits of playing sports!