More and more teenagers are passing on the opportunity to play sports — and that’s not good!
It’s a bit unsettling to know that while most teens ages 13-17 are physically able, only about 40 percent of them are active in any sports activity , competitive or recreational. Unfortunately, the downward trend may likely continue because today’s young people are being lured into “activities” that require only the movement of a hand, such as video games, social media or web surfing.
If you’re a pre-teen or teen and you haven’t played a sport yet, now’s the perfect time to give it a try! Beyond the simple enjoyment of playing, there are several other good reasons to join a sport. Below are just seven of them.
1. You’ll be healthier.
Sports require you to move your body, and it’s a commonly known fact that exercise is good for your health. According to the Mayo Clinic, physical activity helps control weight, combats health conditions and diseases, improves mood, boosts energy and promotes better sleep. The health advantages of participating in a sport far outweigh the dangers of actual injury.
2. You’ll be smarter.
Many studies reveal that playing sports can actually boost your brainpower. A report from the Institute of Medicine stated: Children who are more active show greater attention, have faster cognitive processing speed, and perform better on standardized academic tests than children who are less active.
This shouldn’t be too surprising as exercise increases blood flow to the brain, and blood flow to the brain stimulates brain growth. Plus, playing a sport actually does require you to think on your feet and strategize, keeping your mind sharp and alert.
In sports, individuals learn to rely on each other and motivate one another to accomplish a common goal. Though individual sports are great, team sports actually do teach you a life lesson: the success of a team — or an organization — depends on how well the players work together. Not even the “star” player can win the game alone.
Sports also teach you to play fairly and to respect the players on the opposing team. Cheating, gloating and fighting do not belong in sports — or in the professional world for that matter. Sports teach you to put forth your best effort and exhibit honorable behavior whether you win or lose a game.
4. You’ll make friends.
When you join a sports team, you will inevitably make friends. Because teammates share so many fun and exciting moments, your friendships should last long after you finish playing. There is also one more perk: most teams traditionally go out to eat after a game!
5. You’ll learn to focus and manage your time.
Sports require time and commitment, but most players usually perform better in school and are more likely to be involved in clubs or community service. How is this possible? Playing a sport requires teenagers to develop two important skills: focus and time management. Focus and time management are crucial traits in people who get things done and accomplish their short and long-term goals.
Though it should not be the main reason to join a sport, it’s a fact that colleges and universities do favor applicants who are well-rounded. Playing a sport will not only pad your resume, it will usually tell the admissions counselor that you are disciplined, confident and work well with others.
It may say that you have more than student potential … you have leadership potential.
7. You’ll have an advantage in the workplace.
Not all people who play sports are “dumb jocks.” In fact, there are studies indicating that girls and boys who played sports are more likely to land higher-status jobs than those who did not.
According to a study from Cornell University, teenagers who played sports developed stronger leadership skills, worked better in teams and demonstrated more confidence. The study also stated: “Participation in competitive youth sports ‘spills over’ to occupationally advantageous traits that persist across a person’s life.”
Pick a sport … today!
Whether or not you’re a natural-born athlete, there’s probably a sport that’s just right for you. Whether it’s basketball, swimming or karate, choose a sport that you are truly passionate about. This way, you will always enjoy it.
At Marine Military Academy, all cadets must participate in physical training and join a sport or activity. MMA understands the value of fitness and the life lessons sports can teach young men. To learn more about MMA and its comprehensive, college-preparatory education, visit MMA-TX.org.
Blog by Maj Harold Compton & Andi Atkinson