If you have kids, then you may be wondering if sports are really beneficial to them or how many sports they should play, if any. These are good questions. Exercise is beneficial to everyone of all ages. Just like eating, exercise should be done in moderation. Nobody NEEDS to exercise seven days a week to maintain health. Nor does anybody NEED to exercise five hours per day to maintain health! Moderation is the key to maintaining good health and should be followed in both your eating and exercise.
You might think that is bad advice when it comes to exercise. You may be thinking that surely exercise can’t hurt you, so why not do it for hours on end or seven days per week. We understand that there are some events, like marathons, that do take hours. However, your body could not sustain running a marathon every single day of the year for the rest of your life! This is why we are saying to do it in moderation.
Particularly with children, you need to remember that they have the majority of their lives ahead of them. That is a long time to keep their bodies in working order. If they overwork their muscles and joints in childhood, this could cause arthritis, aches, pains, and surgeries at a young age. Are we saying not to put your children in sports? Absolutely not! Sports are a wonderful activity for children which we fully support.
What we are suggesting is to be mindful of how much your child is doing and how much they are exerting themselves. It is recommended, even by top coaches, to allow your children to play multiple sports (preferably not during the same season). This can prevent your child from wearing out a particular set of muscles and joints at a young age. It also helps them to be better overall athletes, instead of only possessing one skill set. It can help them maintain good range of motion and flexibility throughout their bodies by using different muscle groups.
Additionally, different sports require different things from your body. Some require good eye/hand coordination, like baseball. Some require good flexibility, like gymnastics. Others require good eye/foot coordination, like soccer. Many sports require a child to think strategically and quickly which are great skills to have in life. Sports work your body AND your mind. We all know good brain health is vitally important.
Don’t forget that aside from keeping your child healthy in body and mind, sports also teach your child important life lessons. They are learning how to take instruction from a coach which later will help them take instruction from a boss. A good coach will teach them how to be a good leader which may help them to BECOME the boss. They are learning good sportsmanship and how to get along with and cooperate with others. This is useful in both the workplace and in their personal lives. They are learning how to win and lose graciously which teaches humility. These are all incredibly important attributes.
So, absolutely, sign your children up for sports. Remember to let them try as many sports as they want. Don’t be stuck on the idea of “I played football, so Junior will play football.” or “I was a gymnast, so Princess will be a gymnast.” Allow them to find their natural abilities and talents, as well as what they enjoy. Remember, it is supposed to be FUN!
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