Today is National Youth Sports Day, an event to highlight the need for physical activity, living healthy, access, youth development, and safety within youth and interscholastic sports. With around 20% of children between 6 years old and 12 years old being largely sedentary, it is important that we work to get our kids moving and reaping the health and social benefits of youth sports. So what are these benefits?
Physical Activity and Living Healthy
As mentioned before, around 20% of children are largely sedentary. This means that today’s tech-savvy kids are spending a great deal of time in front of screens rather than playing outside. In fact, their screen time was measured at just over 27 hours per week! An inactive lifestyle has undesirable effects on children that can get worse as they grow older. sport371 Joining sports activities can prevent these from happening. For example, 88% of kids reported experiencing an improvement in physical health and 73% say it enhanced their mental health as well. Additionally, participation in youth and interscholastic sports is associated with a decreased likelihood of cigarette smoking, heart disease, and diabetes.
Besides providing children with a long list of health benefits, participating in sports allows children to reap many social benefits as well. Besides learning discipline and how to get along with their peers, 56% of parents say sports give their children skills to help in future schooling and 55% saying sports give their children skills to help in their future career. Participation in youth sports is also associated with:
Higher test scores
Improved academic achievement
Earning a bachelor’s degree
To learn more about the benefits of youth sports, view the infographic below created by Ohio University.
[Graphic Courtesy: Ohio University]
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NRPA Survey Highlights Importance of Youth Mentorship
Park and recreation professionals include teachers, coaches, counselors and community leaders who act as mentors by helping build confidence, encourage positivity and values, empower healthy decision making and provide support to children and young adults. According to new date from the National Recreation and Parks Association, nine in ten U.S. adults agree on the importance of youth having access to mentors, including those found through programs at local park and recreation agencies.
According to a survey conducted by NRPA, U.S. adults (87 percent) say it is important for children and young adults to have access to mentors, including 71 percent who say it is extremely or very important, while parents (80 percent) are more likely than non-parents (66 percent) to say it is extremely or very important for children and young adults to have access to mentors. Gen-Xers (79 percent) say it is extremely or very important for children and young adults to have access to mentors.