We have all heard that it’s important for kids (and, well, everybody) to exercise regularly to prevent health problems such as obesity, diabetes and heart conditions. Despite a lot of people wrongly associating organized youth sports with too much competition and too much strain put on the body, all kids benefit from getting involved in youth sports. In this article, we’ll be showing you some statistics and arguments in favor of youth-sport participation. Youth sports have always been (and will continue to be) a great way for your kids to grow up healthy in all aspects of their life.

Why are Youth Sports Important?

Physical advantages
You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that if your kid is involved in youth sports, he or she will be getting a lot of exercise in. We’re constantly told that we need to do some cardio throughout the week, and the truth is that this is even more important for kids. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, children aged older than six should get at least an hour a day of physical exercise a day.

With more and more children spending time online or watching television every day, it’s becoming harder to get that hour of muscle- and bone-strengthening in. Alongside this phenomenon, we’ve also seen the rise in the percentage of childhood obesity. Luckily, youth sports are a great way to get children moving in a way that’s fun and not a chore to them.

The benefits of an active lifestyle are well known: lower risk of heart disease, obesity and diabetes; less body fat, more muscle and strength, and a better respiratory system. Youth sports help your kid reap all these benefits, making them healthy and putting them in shape.

Social advantages
Many parents and guardians may not think about the social and psychological skills kids can acquire when they’re involved in youth sports. These advantages are just as important as the physical ones and will play an important role in your child’s future. In order to be a good part of society and have a well-balanced, healthy life, children need to learn some skills. Youth sports does just that: teach them.

Some of these lessons are related to teamwork. Being a part of a team requires a lot: to be able to put yourself in other people’s shoes, to be able to sacrifice your individual stardom in favor of the team, and how to connect with your peers. Team sports are a great way to teach children these things, as they will need to pass the ball to their teammates and stick to one position in the field or court. They will learn that being a part of something bigger is a good thing, and that others’ victories are just as important as their own.

It’s also very common that children who are involved in youth sports go on to achieve better academic results and have an overall more positive high school experience as they feel more connected to the community.

It’s also been shown on scientific reports that those who are involved in youth sports are less likely to be part of a gang, do drugs, drink alcohol, drop out of school and, if the athlete is a girl, become a teen mom. Even the United Nations has implemented programs in areas where these problems are common among young people. Sports are known to keep kids “off the streets” because it gives them a sense of purpose, something to work on and a tight-knit support system of peers and coaches.

Psychological advantages
No one can deny that youth sports can sometimes be very stressful and put pressure on children to perform well. There are important matches coming up, maybe a championship, and making sure they’re not put on the bench after a bad performance. However, life, too, is stressful and children will have to face the many barriers that come with growing up (for example, test scores and getting a job). By learning how to deal with the stress early on, it will be much easier for kids to face those challenges when they’re older. Youth sports teach them how to manage expectations, deal with frustration, and how to concentrate when you’re under pressure. These are all skills that are bound to make them successful and well-balanced adults.

Where to start?

If you’ve made the decision to let your child or grandchild try out a sport, you will most likely not regret it. What you have to do now is simple: pick a sport, study and teach them, and buy some attire and accessories they will need in this new adventure.

Choosing a sport
First of all, it’s important that you let them pick a sport they like without interfering too much. It’s not uncommon for parents to push their dreams and ambitions onto their kids, but you must let them pick for themselves. Sports such as softball, baseball, basketball, soccer, and even volleyball accept both girls and boys of all ages, but these aren’t the only ones. You’re bound to find something.

Look in your area for teams with open tryouts for the sport your child is going for. You’ll need to do some internet research and maybe even local networking to find out where to sign them up, but you’re sure to find a place.

Get immersed in the game
Now you’ll need to teach your child some rules and have them watch a couple of matches. Sports are all the more fun if you know what you’re doing, so don’t skip out on this. Do it in a way that’s fun and enjoyable for kids, and maybe even try doing a little mock practice with them!

Get geared up
Now that your child has a place on the team and they have the rules down, it’s time to dress the part. You don’t have to splurge on fancy equipment, and there are many places both online and offline where you can get affordable attire.

In fact, Affordable Uniforms is an online company that also specializes in all kinds of youth sports uniforms at a low price! You can see what’s available by clicking on this link and shopping around for the ideal outfit for your kid.