Sports Are a Win-win for Teens
Being a teenager is challenging. Adding athletics to the mix can seem like a tremendous feat. Student-athletes have to balance academic loads, their complex social lives, and extracurricular activities, while maintaining a demanding physical training regime for their sport. Keeping to the athletic team practice schedule is not just difficult for teens, but also for parents who often shuttle teens to and from practice and competitions. Life would be so much easier for parents enjoy a lazy Saturday or Sunday at home, instead of being at a tournament, meet or competition. So why encourage your kids and create a crazy schedule for yourself? Well, here are 4 reasons why you should keep pushing them (and yourself) through the grind:
- Improved Physical Health.
We all know the benefits of exercise to physical health. Sadly, most kids don’t manage to get the amount of activity recommended by any forward-looking Department of Health and Human Services (60 minutes per day of moderate or vigorous activity). An unfit adolescent is more likely to have greater amounts of body fat, higher chances of cardiovascular and other metabolic disease, and less healthy bones than those who exercise regularly. Additionally, regular exercise can also keep inflammation (a risk factor of chronic disease) at bay. By participating in competitive athletics adolescents can experience the health benefits as well as build a foundation of good exercise habits for the future. Ultimately, the benefits of team sport participation throughout your teen’s adolescence can last them a lifetime.
- Athletes Accelerate in Academics.
Just before reaching middle adolescence, teens tend to drop off sports teams and focus on other pursuits. The focus on academics intensifies in preparation for university. This shift often leads to the drop-out of sports related activities in high school. After all, the stereotype of a “dumb-jock” has always been prevalent in sports, especially in recent years. It’s a stereotype that has been difficult to shed, and is often perpetuated by the mainstream media. Most recently it was highlighted by Ryan Lochte’s reality show “What Would Ryan Lochte Do.” Is this really what all successful athletes look like? The answer is a resounding NO.
Furthermore, recent research on the neurological benefits has demonstrated the brain enhancing benefits of exercise that works at the cellular level resulting in enhanced brain-power. In contrast to the dumb-jock stereotype, being involved in sports can not only help cognitive performance but also lead to improved academic functioning.
- Mental Health Benefits.
Any psychologist is convinced that in prescribing physical exercise is possible to enhance treatment goals. It is known that regular exercise has many positive effects. First of all, exercise results in overall improved psychosocial health. Specifically, athletes experience lower levels of depression and anxiety than their non athlete counterparts. Team sports demonstrate even more benefits than more solitary activities. Some researchers speculate that it is due to the social aspect of being on a team. Others go so far to highlight the importance of adolescents’ participation in team sports suggesting it is essential for their development in the social realm.
Interestingly researchers have found that children who participate on team sports are more socially advanced than their non-sports participating peers. Sports involvement promotes mentorship relationships and also provides adolescents many opportunities to navigate various (sometimes complex) social situations, be decisive and work as a member of a team. It results in adolescents who are more competent, decisive, better at managing their time whilst providing teens with a sense of community and belonging.
- Nothing worthwhile in life comes easily.
In order to experience personal satisfaction, a deeper form of success, your teen must learn that working hard, prioritizing, sacrifice, and follow-through will help them reach their goals. These attributes are part of the athletic framework and fundamental to experiencing success not only in sports, but also in academics and beyond. By encouraging and supporting your teen’s participation in competitive sports, parents are teaching them persistence, tenacity.
Participation on an athletic team also provides teens the opportunity to work along side people better than them and others who might not be (but are inspiring none-the-less) and model the tenacious personality trait. Learning to work hard in sports and tolerate the natural ups and downs of athletics, can support the development as human person.
It is not necessary to be Michael Phelps or Lionel Messi to benefit from team sports. There are many advantages for teens who are involved in sports such as improved physical health, improved academic functioning, and overall positive effects on the psychosocial functioning of adolescents. Above all, participation in team sports is a win-win for teens.
Why promote sporting and life experiences abroad for young people.
- Personal Development
Break out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself with uncommon experiences that make you reconsider (or strengthen) your values. Get a better sense of who you are and what’s important. Discover what you want out of life. Become a more independent person. International travel shows you what you’re really made of.
- Learn Foreign Languages
Language teachers say being totally immersed in a culture that speaks the language you want to learn is the quickest and most effective way to learn it. Mastering a foreign language opens up all kinds of new opportunities. As globalization brings the world together, it’s important to be competent in more than one language.
- Aquire New Skills
When you study overseas, you can take courses you don’t have the opportunity to take at home. In addition to university classes, you can explore new hobbies or sports that aren’t as popular (or even possible) to practice. Traveling outside your home country is an education in itself, learning to interact with & navigate through a culture different from your own.
- Forge Lasting Memories
Most students who’ve studied abroad claim their time overseas was the best year of college. You’ll meet new friends who will want to share their culture, ideas, and learn about yours. Create lasting memories and develop life-long friendships. You may even find your future wife or husband!
- Experience Different Cultures
Immersing yourself in a totally different culture is powerful. You’ll experience things like trying different foods, celebrating traditional customs, and learning the history of another country. A person’s culture reflects deep perceptions, beliefs, and values that influence their way of life. You’ll gain an understanding of this that can’t be taught with books.
- Expand Your Worldview
Previously held beliefs about foreign countries will change once you’ve been abroad. However you’ll gain a completely new perspective on your own country too. It can be surprising just how much you know is slightly biased, based on where you’re from. It’s also a unique opportunity to educate others on your country, dispelling their stereotypes about you!
Above all share a fantastic PASSION for our sport: TRIATHLON !!!