Tag Archives: Youth

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

 

How sport contributes to society

Participating in sport and physical activity brings multiple physical and mental health benefits. But sport has an even more powerful societal role to play. It can help promote social inclusion and create more cohesive societies. How?

Sport has universal appeal and knows no cultural or socio-economic boundaries. It enables people of different ages, backgrounds and cultures, including those from marginalised or underprivileged groups, to get together and have fun! By bringing together those who might not usually interact socially, sport helps break down barriers and strengthen communities.

What’s more, by engaging in sport, young people can attain personal and professional competences which enhance their employability. This kind of ‘informal learning’ fosters teamwork, discipline and creativity, and imparts valuable ‘life skills’ such as leadership, taking responsibility, and so on. In this way, sport can contribute to a bigger picture, helping to tackle youth unemployment and ultimately stimulate economic recovery.

And it doesn’t stop there!

Not only is physical inactivity one of the leading risk factors for health in Europe, it’s also costing us a fortune from direct (health care) and indirect costs.

Transforming our society into one that is more physically active can, literally, save our economies a lot of money that we all know is needed elsewhere.

#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!