Sports & Activities – The Benefits & Science

Research indicates that sports participation can promote healthy mental and physical development.

Sports participation:

  • Builds an appreciation of personal health and fitness
  • Develops a positive self-image and self esteem
  • Teaches how to work as part of a team
  • Develops social skills with other children and adults (such as taking turns and sharing playing time)
  • Teaches how to manage both success and disappointment; and,
  • Teaches how to respect others

The research on youth sports has predominantly examined how sports enhance areas of a child’s social development. Specifically, studies have examined how sports contribute to the development of social competence and self-esteem (Ewing, 1997).

In general, participation in youth sports can lead to enhanced and improved:

  • Functioning and health of heart, lungs, muscles, and bone
  • Flexibility, mobility, and coordination
  • Stamina and strength
  • Ability to maintain weight
  • Balance and agility
  • Self-image and self-confidence
  • Relaxation and stress relief and;
  • Prevention of secondary conditions associated with disability

“When kids perceive a caring, task involving climate in a sport setting they have more fun, less stress, they display better sports person, better empathy for their peers and intend to stay with it longer. Unfortunately, this kind of evaluation of youth sports is definitely not the norm. There’s so much positive information that can be gained from it.”

Young people who perceive they are taking part in a positive, caring sport environment are better emotionally adjusted and show less depression. Young people who strongly perceived a caring climate both regularly felt joy in positive situations and were able to properly handle negative emotions and experienced fewer instances of depression.

A positive environment allows adolescents to not worry about being judged or being able to express emotions.

“When you’re in an environment where you can’t express your emotions, you tend to be more guarded. It just reinforces the important role teachers and coaches play.”

A growing body of research indicates that in addition to improved physical health, sport plays a primarily positive role in youth development, improved academic achievement, higher self-esteem, fewer behavioural problems and better psychosocial health.

We implement this through various approaches such as outward bound activity based breaks, charitable sport event participation, and Duke of Edinburgh Awards.