Spring Launches Sports Season, Health Benefits

Baseball, soccer, softball, swimming, and track and field are just a handful of sports that start new seasons in springtime. Young athletes have many options, which is good not only for for these balls of energy who want to play and have fun — but also their parents.

According to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, children ages 6 to 17 should daily get up to 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Specifically, at least three days a week should include vigorous activity, and muscle- and bone-strengthening physical activity should also occur three days a week.

Regular physical activity can produce many long-term physical health benefits:

• Prevention of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and stroke (the three leading health-related causes of death)
• Weight control
• Increased muscle strength
• Fat reduction
• Promotion of strong bone, muscle and joint development
• Improved heart and lung condition
• Increased overall strength and endurance
• Improved sleep
• Increased energy levels
• Increased chances of living longer

However, participating in sports improves more than children’s physical health. Athletics can help improve mental health, as well as a child’s social and emotional development:

• Sports help children learn to work in teams
• Athletics help children learn the importance of sportsmanship
• Children gain a spirit of determination and perseverance by participating in athletic activities
• Sports participation helps decrease a child’s potential of becoming depressed
• Athletics help increase self-esteem
• Sports participation relieves stress

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