Sports are often considered a way to stay healthy and keep fit. However, sports have physical and physiological benefits for students as well. Here are just a few reasons why athletics can help improve a student’s overall mental health and academics!
Brainpower: Sports help to improve the cognitive and memory function of the brain. It’s also the best in fighting stress. After spending several hours in class, a student needs some time to refresh the mind. Sports can help build their ability to concentrate and focus in class.
Managing emotions: Emotions can run high in sports. Student athletes are taught to control their emotions, which can impact their athletic and academic performances. Emotion management skills learned at a young age helps youth handle critical life challenges later in life.
Health: Exercise helps to burn calories in the body, reducing chances of obesity. Heart muscles performance and endurance improve, increasing its efficiency and reducing the risk of heart diseases. Exercise triggers the use of sugar in the blood, glucose is converted into energy hence balancing the blood sugars. Sports also help in the fight against cancer and other lifestyle diseases.
Resilience: A tremendous benefit from playing youth sports is that students get to learn life skills such as determination and resilience in a time and environment where their adversities and difficulties are relatively low and they have the support to get through them. If your student athlete appears to be struggling, ask them if they need help. If they decline then let them move through the problem on their own.
Teamwork: It’s a key to success. In sports, students must collaborate and work with other team members. School athletics can help teach critical teamwork skills that will carry any youth as they grow into an adult.
Discipline: In athletics, students have to follow the rules set and obey their coach. Students involved in sports are busy training and practicing. Often times they simply don’t have time to get involved in other or illegal activities. Time management skills are learned in school athletics and are critical skills they’ll use the rest of their life.
So, your kiddo is ready to start a sport this school year, don’t forget their sports physical! The sports physical exam is called the preparticipation physical examination or PPE. The exam helps determine whether it's safe for a student to participate in a certain sport. The physical includes a student’s medical history and a physical exam. If your school offers the exam, it's convenient to get it done there. Otherwise you can visit your family doctor and request a sports physical exam before athletics begin.
School isn’t the only place students can become active in sports. There are dozens of youth sporting leagues across Tennessee. The Tennessee Department of Health recognizes those leagues which provide the highest level of safety for young athletes with its Safe Stars program. Learn more here!