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The Power of Play: Exploring the Benefits of Youth Sports

The school year has begun, and sports season is here! School sports have always been a popular activity, but since the COVID pandemic, screen time for children has increased and stayed high. This new statistic is a concern considering it leads to other lasting effects like obesity and behavioral problems. This season, Harbin Clinic sports medicine physicians recommend involving children in team sports. “Youth sports give kids a chance to get exercise, experience teamwork, and take their eyes off devices. Their involvement can have positive effects on their physical, mental and social health,” says Dr. Brad Bushnell of Harbin Clinic Orthopedics Rome. Are you thinking about signing your child up for a team? Here are some of the best reasons to get them involved:

Accountability for Physical Health

Youth sports give children an organized, motivating environment to get exercise. As screens become more ingrained in our lives, adolescents are less physically active. Youth sports lead to health benefits for years, including healthier hearts, increased motor skills and coordination, and the creation of healthy habits at an early age. Scheduling time for physical activity allows children who might not otherwise be physically active to receive consistent exercise.

A Boost in Emotional Health

It seems obvious that physical health would improve with sports participation, but sports also impact mental and emotional health. Exercise releases endorphins and helps to reduce stress. Contributing to a team also improves self-confidence among kids. There’s another benefit too. When kids spend time at practice or a game, they spend less time on social media – a positive considering the potentially negative effects of social media for children’s self-esteem and mental health. With lower stress levels, higher self-confidence and less screen time, adolescents who play sports are at a lower risk of developing anxiety and depression.

Space for Social Health

With less face-to-face interaction due to increased screen time, children have fewer chances to grow their social development. Sports give children opportunities to interact with others who share similar interests and goals, and they expose children to a strong team environment. Children can experience competition, failure, and difficulty in a safe, encouraging space. This experience helps kids learn how to communicate with others in person and encourages building connections and friendships.

If you are looking for opportunities to get your children involved in a sport, the YMCA of Rome and Floyd County offers soccer and basketball programs that are easy ways to get your kids started. Many schools have sports teams of their own for students, so reach out to your school’s athletic department to learn more about what there is to offer!

Discover more about Harbin Clinic’s Sport Medicine services here:

Published August 29, 2023

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