The Long-Term Benefits of Participating in Youth Sports

Of all the American families with school-age children, three-quarters have at least one child that actively participates in a youth sport of some kind. Participation in youth sports has been growing over the years, resulting in nearly 50 million kids currently involved. In addition to being a source of fun and enjoyment for children, playing a youth sport can also provide several long-term benefits for all of those who are involved.
 In the United States, one out of every three children is considered overweight. Youth sports can help to combat the very troubling trend of childhood obesity. Instead of living a sedentary lifestyle, children who participate in youth sports are highly active. This helps promote physical health, increases social interaction, and provides children with a relatively safe and healthy way to keep themselves busy.
Engaging in physical activity has been shown to have immense positive effects on physical health, and engaging in youth sports is a perfect way for children to participate in strenuous yet beneficial physical activity. These benefits include, but are not limited to, a reduced risk of diabetes, obesity, breast cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, and many other illnesses/ailments. Studies have also found that children who participate in youth sports are more likely to continue participating in that sport later on in life, and they are also more likely to live a healthier lifestyle in general as adults.
In addition to the physical benefits, there are many long-term psychological benefits to participating in youth sports. Participation in youth sports has been shown by studies to not only reduce the risk of depression, but also the risk of suicidal tendencies. Youth sports can help provide a strong social support system for children, resulting in increased friendships, peer interaction, and mental resilience. All of these factors contribute to increased mental health later in life. Finally, studies have shown that participation in sports as a child leads to increased time management skills, goal setting, emotional resilience, leadership and teamwork skills, and strong work habits. All of these benefits from participating in youth sports can help to set up children for success later in life.