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Since the Native Americans, sports have been a large part of American culture. There are records of Indians playing lacrosse and field hockey in the 17th century. Encyclopedia.com even states, “Despite the diversity of Native American cultures, some games were widespread. The rules of the games might vary, but several games were popular in large regions of the West. Native Americans occasionally incorporated games into religious ceremonies.” Today some of these games are still played, and with these games comes unmatched benefits. Overall, sports give children and young adults life lessons and benefits that cannot be found anywhere else. The benefits of sports for adolescents are physical, mental, and even social.
Sports help children in many different ways, one of which is socially. Being a part of a team allows kids to experience leadership, cooperation skills, higher levels of self confidence and many more. The University of Michigan took 709 public school children and tested their leadership skills, and the tests showed that kids who were most active had better leadership skills, showed more empathy, and knew how to work together better than the kids who were not as active. Elizabeth Jackson who is an assistant professor at Michigan said “It seems that physical activity through team sports and exercise classes may have benefits beyond physical fitness. These findings suggest that children who develop leadership and empathy toward others are more likely to care about their own health, perhaps adopting life-long healthy behaviors that can prevent heart disease.” This shows that kids with better leadership skills and empathy skills often care about their body more, which shows sports help in a very, very large way. Sports also allow for kids to feel a sense of belonging, when they are on a team they feel needed. Another study published by Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine showed that out of 14,000 high school kids the ones who did sports were significantly less likely to do drugs. This once again shows how much sports can improve your lifestyle as a young adult. Health.gov also stated that women who participate in sports are more than 80% less likely to become pregnant in high school. This also shows that sports help in so many social instances. Along with all of these statistics there are many, many more that show sports help social health. A survey was done involving 75 companies, all of which were in the Fortune 500, and the individuals holding the Vice President positions. The results showed that a staggering 95% of them participated in some sport in highschool. Overall the social benefits young adults obtain through sports are unmatched. The kids feel the need to be there for their teammates on time and ready to perform, which allows for them to feel like they belong. Even through rough times like when an athlete has a bad game or is going through something emotionally, the first people there for you are your teammates, this allows for you to create a special bond you have with almost no one else. Sports also help kids learn how to deal with anger and frustration in a more reasonable manner. In sports kids learn many things that overall will improve their health for the rest of their lives.
Sports also heavily influence kids’ mental health. Participating in sports releases a chemical called Serotonin into the brain this allows you to feel happier and overall more relaxed. Studies show that sports allow you to feel more relaxed, less stressed, more open minded, and it even improves concentration. German researchers showed that doing some sort of activity before learning a new language allowed it to “stick” better. Charlene Gamaldo, a medical director at John Hopkins Center for Sleep stated “We have solid evidence that exercise does, in fact, help you fall asleep more quickly and improves sleep quality.” Getting better sleep is vital to having a healthy lifestyle. Most teens in the U.S. suffer from getting too little sleep or just do not sleep well, and sports will help you get better sleep. Sports also allow you to be in better shape, and this is huge when dealing with mental health. Upwards of 87% percent of teens are unhappy with their body and wish they could change it, participating in sports will allow for kids to be more self confident and less insecure. Along with all of this around 20% of teens have experienced some sort of depression before adulthood, and in the age range of 15-24 suicide is the third leading cause of death. A study was done involving 16,000 students in highschool and the results stated that kids who participated in sports were significantly less likely to be depressed, or have any suicidal thoughts or actions. Sports even help adolescents in the classroom. A study done in Kansas showed that kids who did sports,” earned higher grades, graduated at a higher rate, dropped out of school less frequently, and scored higher on state assessments then did non-athletes.” This shows that participating in sports can make you a better student as well. In conclusion, Sports help kids become healthier mentally in many different aspects.
Sports also significantly help young adults physically. Overall participating in sports allows for kids to have stronger muscles, increased flexibility, stronger bones, and many more. According to the United States Anti-Doping Agency, USADA, “Obesity over the last 25 years has doubled in our youth and will affect more than one-third of our children by the third grade.” This number would be a lot lower if a lot more kids participated in sports or some sort of activity. The number of people suffering from diabetes is also rising at an alarming rate, and studies show sports help treat macrovascular complications. This is huge because roughly 10% of U.S. citizens have some sort of diabetes. Sports also increase metabolism which allows for you to process food faster which means you do not gain weight as quickly. Heart health can also be prolonged if you participate in sports. Sports are absolutely vital to a healthy and long lasting life. Lower body fat is extremely important to kids, because like stated before 87% of kids wish they could change their bodies. A recent study showed that people who are more physically active are less likely to die due to a cardiovascular disease. The results showed that they are 50% less likely! The same research crew saw that women who are more active have a 29% less chance of dying from cancer related diseases. In addition to all of this, sports also are proven to strengthen lungs. This is huge because in the last one hundred years kids have been getting progressively less and less healthy, and sports are a big reason. Since technology has increased less kids feel the need to go outside. On top of that, less kids are playing sports now than ever before. Nowadays, roughly 70% of children quit sports before 13 now, and with that the rate of obesity, rate of heart problems, the rate of lung issues have all risen. In 2018, nearly 8 million kids played sports, that number dropped more than 40,000 by the year 2019, and this number has been dropping for many years now. The number dropped 25,000 alone just in Texas athletics. Overall, the effect sports have on young adults is monstimental, and the benefits are unmatched.
All in all, sports have been around for hundreds of years and allow you to obtain skills and lessons you can not learn anywhere else. They allow for you to grow as a person and better yourself for the future. Sports have countless effects socially such as, learning to cooperate with others, leadership skills, improved decision making, and many others. Mentally, sports allow you to get better sleep, better concentration, more self confidence, and even provides a better mindset for individuals. Sports also allow for you to become a lot healthier and lessens the risk of many different life threatening diseases. In conclusion, sports allow for you to be significantly healthier socially, mentally, and even physically.
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