It can be hard to get teenagers interested in activities that are actually good for them. Most teens would rather spend time on their phones than spend time outside. Unfortunately, spending all day looking at a screen isn’t the best path to better physical or mental health.
The good news is that sports can provide a great outlet for teens while encouraging healthy behavior. Teens who are involved in sports have a reason to put down their devices and spend time with their peers in person. Sports also provide a fun form of exercise that teens will actually get excited about.
If you’re lucky, your teen might already be showing interest in sports. That’s a great start! But how do you help them choose the best sport for them? Here are some reasons to encourage your child and some tips for choosing a sport.
Encouraging Healthy Behaviors for Teenagers
Getting young people to exercise can feel like a futile task. However, it’s very important for children and teens to get enough physical activity in any given week. Not only will this help with growth and development, sleep, and mood, but it will help to establish healthy habits for a lifetime.
Many teenagers aren’t getting nearly enough exercise, according to government guidelines. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, teens should be getting a minimum of one hour of moderate exercise per day. Activities can include aerobic exercise, muscle-building workouts, and bone-strengthening exercises, with a variety of activities being most beneficial.
Encouraging more physical activity can set teens up for a healthier future. Staying fit will help prevent issues like sleep problems, mental health struggles, and certain medical conditions. Setting these habits early in life can make a big difference in future health, and sports can help.
The Benefits of Sports for Teens
In addition to the physical benefits of playing sports, teens can gain new skills and boost their mental health. Participation in sports can have a major positive impact on a teen’s self-esteem, engagement, and desire to take their education further.
Team sports provide accountability and support. Teens will learn skills in collaboration and trust while playing together on a team. They will learn to be gracious winners and losers and to work hard so they can improve their skills.
Surveys have shown that sports for teens can offer benefits in a wide range of areas, including academic achievement, cognitive skills, substance abuse prevention, mental health, and goal-setting. Overall, most teens find that sports participation enhances their well-being and helps them enjoy school more.
Youth sports get teens excited about physical activity, working with others, and looking ahead to the future. Although there are a few downsides, like the risk of injury or the time-consuming nature of sports participation, most teens and their families find that the pros far outweigh the cons.
How to Help Your Child Find the Right Sport for Them
Getting your child interested in joining a sports team might be easy—or it might not be. The key is finding a sport they are interested in. Do some research on different options and talk to them about what you’re learning.
Pay attention to subtle cues. Teenagers aren’t always very forthcoming. You might need to look for hints as to which sports are the most interesting for them.
It’s also important to think about the safety of each option. While you want your child to choose the sport they’re most passionate about, you need to be aware of the risks so you can decide if those risks outweigh the benefits of that particular sport. If you do decide to let your child participate in a higher-risk sport, make sure to explain the risks and ensure that they use proper safety equipment.
Consider some lesser-known sports, in addition to the big ones, like basketball, football, soccer, and baseball. Volleyball is growing in popularity, as is cheerleading and lacrosse. See what’s offered at your child’s school and let them explore or try out a few options to see what they like best. You can even try many of these sports out at home to see if they’ll pique your teen’s interest.
Don’t Be Too Pushy!
It’s important to avoid forcing the issue when it comes to teen sports. Encouragement and support are important, but don’t let it become unnecessary pressure that affects your teen negatively. Don’t be too pushy, but remember that most teens won’t take the initiative unless they have a gentle nudge.
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