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Five reasons why sports activities are great for your kids

Nov 5, 2022

Nov 5, 2022


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Research by Sports England has shown that families, parents and carers play a key role in shaping a child's attitudes to being active and their activity levels later in life. With that in mind, we explore the main benefits of sports activities for kids, as well as how to find a wide range of sports activities for kids close to home.

Sports activities are great for children’s physical health

Kicking off with the most obvious, its no surprise that getting active is great for keeping our kids fit and healthy. In fact, the NHS Healthier Families website states that kids need to be active for at least 60 minutes a day, which should also include 3 sessions a week of activity that strengthens muscles and bones. There’s no denying that kids who take part in sporting activities have lower rates of obesity, better lung function, stronger hearts and healthier bones.

The health benefits of playing sports extend far beyond childhood as well, so establishing a healthy attitude towards sports at a young age can reap benefits in later life. Adults who participate in regular physical activity have a reduced risk of major illnesses, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease and cancer.

Sports activities boost kids Mental Health

Being active is a natural way to reduce stress and anxiety, and physical activity is known to reduce the symptoms of depression. A recent study of more than 11,000 children in the US found that youngsters who participated in team sports were less likely to experience mental health issues than those who didn’t play any sport.

Exercising kick starts a biological series of events that results in many health benefits. Many of us know that high-intensity exercise releases the body's feel-good chemicals called endorphins. However, research shows that there is huge value is in low-intensity exercise too, which actually improves brain function and helps people to feel better.

"In people who are depressed, neuroscientists have noticed that the hippocampus in the brain—the region that helps regulate mood—is smaller. Exercise supports nerve cell growth in the hippocampus, improving nerve cell connections, which helps relieve depression."

Dr. Michael Craig Miller, assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

Taking part in sport contributes to positive development of mind and body, which means that kids who play sports also tend to have higher self-esteem than those who don't.

Sports activities for kids actually improve their social development

We’ve explored the physical and mental health benefits of exercise, but did you know that getting your kids involved in sports will also improve their social skills? Sports are one of the most effective ways to teach your child skills such as teamwork, discipline, responsibility, and handling adversity. More than just building muscle, sports can help to build character.

Some of the most common lessons learned from playing sports include:

Sports can help kids to build and strengthen friendships

Taking part in sports activities is a great way to make friends. For team sports, such as football or rugby, the team spirit, shared goals and interests and trust fostered by being part of the team is great for building bonds both on and off the field. Even for those who struggle in social situations, or are very shy, sports can help to bridge the gap - allowing them to interact with others and immerse themselves in the sport, with no need to make small talk.

More solitary sports for children, such as swimming or martial arts are still taught in groups, which can help children to find kids with similar interests to their own.

Sports help to keep kids active (and tackle the screen-time conundrum)

We’ve talked about the benefits of physical activity. Health aside, sports activities are a great way of stopping kids from being sedentary and spending too much time on screens. A study by Internet Matters in 2018 showed that 47% of parents were concerned their child spends too much time online. One in three (27%) said too much screen time led to bad posture, 22% said it meant their kids were ‘not making real friends’ and 37% said it impacted on their children’s sleep. Getting kids involved in sports can get them off screens and encourage them to be more active - sport is also shown to be beneficial for tackling the three concerns above, namely posture or physical development, sleep and friendships.

Find a kids sports club or activity near you

To find a sports club or activity close to home, simply visit our find an activity page, which can be filtered by location, age, and activity type to find the right club for you. If we don't currently have a supplier in your area, then let us know, or check back soon. Our team is constantly adding new suppliers to make sure that Pebble helps you to find children’s activities near home.