How School Sports Are Keeping Kids Healthy
As parents, we’re naturally inclined to push our kids into after school activities designed to build their self esteem, help them keep fit-and let’s say it like it is. It’s kind of nice when they’re burning energy doing something other than tearing around the living room! The fact that we want our kids to do school sports is often enough to keep us from encouraging them to do it. Don’t want to be pushy parents, after all. What you need to know is that by nudging them into playing school sports, we’re actually taking huge strides toward keeping kids healthy.
What do your kids do when they get home from school? Swing on the playground? Go jogging around the block? Spend hours building their arm muscles, their hand-eye coordination and their sense of teamwork and fair play by shooting basket after basket? If they don’t play school sports, probably not. They have no reason to. Instead, they’re vegging in the living room with a snack and some cartoons or camping out on the computer and not doing a thing with those wonderful stores of energy.
While they’re at it, they’re developing a sedentary lifestyle that puts them at a high risk of becoming yet another victim of childhood obesity.
School sports don’t just occupy your kids for an hour or two after school each day. Sports, especially at the middle and high school level, become a lifestyle choice rather than an activity. Healthy eating leads to improved performance, so they watch what they eat. Training during the off season gives them a better chance of making the team, so they stay fit. Practice sharpens their skills, so they practice for hours even when they’re not “at practice”.
Throughout this whole process they’re building muscles, burning calories, improving their cardiovascular health and minimizing the chances that they’ll become yet another victim of childhood obesity.
You’re probably shaking your head and thinking, “Obesity? My kids? Never.” Don’t be too sure. Pediatricians say the number of children and adolescents diagnosed as overweight and obese is climbing, due in no small part to the number of video game consoles currently on the market! These children are considerably more likely than their friends to suffer from obesity related conditions like diabetes and hypertension. They’re also more likely to be teased mercilessly, wearing away at their self esteem and severely damaging their chances of enjoying a healthy social life during this crucial period in their lives.
So the next time you think you shouldn’t interfere, go for it. Give them the nudge. Encourage them to try out for the team. If they don’t make it, help them practice so they can try again next year. You’re not meddling. You’re just keeping kids healthy.
Jessica Sparks is a public relations representative working with the team at Snikiddy.com. Snikiddy was created by co-founders Janet Owings and Mary Owings-Schulman to give kids the healthy snacking choices they deserve.
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