Tag Archives: Kids

Five surprising ways sport clubs benefit children and youth

More good news about the incredible benefits of physical activity! Here are five amazing things that children and youth get out of being a member of a sport club:

Healthy bodies, healthy minds

Through the development of healthy physical activity habits, children and youth are not only supporting healthy bodies, but are also likely to show improved performance in school. Another terrific advantage of sport clubs – which generally involve a long term commitment – is that if young people are physically active from an early age, they are more likely to continue to be so in early adulthood.

Social skills

Structured activities, such as organized sports, are linked to lower levels of antisocial behaviour in children.  Indeed, sport clubs can help them develop important social skills such as good citizenship, positive peer relations and respect for authority through learning to interact not only with other children their age, but also with older individuals in their coaches and sports officials.

Self-esteem

Studies have shown that those who engage in sport and physical activity are more confident – this is particularly important in child development. Sport clubs allow children and youth to build self-esteem as they learn to trust in their own abilities, receive encouragement and praise from coaches and parents, and learn to accept constructive criticism.

Skill building

Sport clubs provide an opportunity for children and youth to learn skills that will help them in school, as well as in their future careers and personal relationship. Through engagement in sport, they learn leadership, teamwork, problem-solving, responsibility, self-discipline, and a sense of initiative.

Tolerance

Sport clubs help children – especially those who are disadvantaged – build last friendships and feel part of a wider community. By bringing together individuals from different races, religions, genders and economic backgrounds, sport can promote mutual respect, tolerance and understand.

 

Sometimes it truly is incredible to take measure of all the benefits of sport and physical activity. #BeActive

 

Sport: Strengthening communities and supporting social inclusion

Let’s take a more serious tone for a moment, and discuss one of the major reasons we are promoting the European Week of Sport. We haven’t talked much about it so far in this blog, but it one that is a fundamental motivations behind much of our work: social inclusion.

Sport is a universal language, one that can be spoken by everyone, no matter their gender, religion, disability, age or income group. It has also been recognised by the United Nations, the World Bank, and many experts around the world as being a powerful tool with which to combat social exclusion, promote intercultural learning and reduce social tensions.

At this point (if you’ve been reading our blog!), most of you know the physical and mental benefits of sport – and how important it is to get European to #BeActive as early in life as possible. But another incredibly important reason to get children and youth involved in sport is that it helps them build strong values – self-discipline, respect for one’s opponent, fair play, teamwork and adherence to mutually agreed upon rules and structure. These values, which embody some of the best that sport has to offer, carry over into people’s everyday lives, into their homes and workplaces and more importantly into their community.

So you see, it’s a win-win for Europe and for Europeans if we can achieve the objectives of this campaign. Think about it: how many other things offer the innumerable benefits of sport? Healthy bodies, healthy minds, creativity, success, self-esteem, healthy economies, thriving communities, FUN…we could go on, but we think you get the idea.

Yes, we want to get Europeans moving, but this movement is about so much more than just that. Join us, we can’t do this without you. #BeActive

Targeting physical inactivity in children: a focus on schools

If you’ve been reading our blog (and we hope you have!) you know the numerous benefits that sport and physical activity provide: happiness, more energy, better health, less anxiety …and on and on… what’s not to love! But what we did not stress enough is why it’s so important to start young!

Let’s look at the scary numbers first:

Childhood obesity is no joke – and it’s on the rise in Europe, where according to the WHO, one in three 11 year olds is overweight or obese. Furthermore, European children are 50% less physically active by age 15 than they were at age nine. As computer games, television and mobile devices take up more and more leisure time, physical inactivity is hurting Europe’s children. That’s the reality.

On the other hand, an increasing number of studies are coming out demonstrating the value of incorporating more physical activity into the lives of children. Active kids have been shown to perform better at school and develop more confidence. As we’ve already mentioned, physical activity also helps boost brain power and creativity – these are excellent added benefits for students of all ages. Finally, kids who embrace an active lifestyle are more likely to carry those good habits into adulthood – and that’s a good thing.

This is why encouraging physical activity in the educational environment is so important, and why the European Week of Sport has this setting as one of its Focus Day themes.

There are many ways to encourage kids to #BeActive, but it’s also important to support schools, educators and other decision makers in creating a culture that values more physical activity in the school setting – from nursery to university level.

We’ve shared some tips on our website, but they are just the tip of the iceberg. Have you heard of any innovative programs to get kids active? What do you do to encourage your children to fight inactivity? We would love to hear your thoughts.

Let’s work together to help Europe’s children and youth #BeActive!