In this educational podcast, Surf excel discusses the benefits of sports and exercise for kids! Sport and outdoor play are so important for the development of your little ones. That’s why we at Surf excel think that Dirt is Good – Daag Achhe Hai. If your kids come back home with dirt and grass stains on their clothes after being active and having fun, this proves that your child has been able to experience life and learn new things! In this podcast, we'll talk with experts about the importance of exercise for your child’s physical and mental well-being.
Then, in an upcoming podcast, we'll talk about different sports for kids, and how you can find the best sport for your little one.
We’ll be talking today with Chrissie Gallagher and Carlos de Sousa, two sports professionals working with children in the UK. Read on for a summary of the podcast.
The Importance of Exercise and the Benefits of Sports
Sport can have an extremely positive influence on children – and the benefits of sports can be long lasting. When kids play sport, they keep fit and healthy, develop new friendships, and learn how to work as part of a team. These are all important things that will help your little ones as they grow up into adults! Let’s take a look at some of these benefits of sports and exercise, starting with the health benefits – which are even available for younger kids.
It is obvious that being active helps your physical health – but here are some of the specific benefits that sports and games can provide to children: “They're also using their muscles, which is obviously very important,” Chrissie said. “Too many of our kids these days tend to sort of sit around on computers and things, so getting them up and running around is obviously very important. When you run around, your muscles pull on your bones, and the action of the muscles pulling on the bones stimulates bone growth, so obviously we want to build as much bone growth and bone strength as you can up until the age of about thirty.” Your kids will probably see an improvement in their coordination and balance, too – and playing sport and being active will also have an impact on your kids’ attitude to food and nutrition.
Mental and Social Benefits of Exercise
Sports also provide many other benefits that may not always be as obvious to parents. Sports and games can help your children build up their self-esteem and improve their mental health: “Obviously I think there's a whole mental side,” Chrissie said. “Sport, a bit like exercise because it amounts to the same thing really, releases endorphins, so they get a sort of feel good factor. They're running free and letting off steam. I also think it rests the brain, because they're not using their brain on screen time, computers, Gameboys, and all the other things kids have nowadays, but actually they're just using their physical body.
So I think it's good mentally. And again, if you get the blood flowing, you get the blood flowing to the brain as well, and that's good for the mental health, I think as well.” When playing different types of sports, your little one can build up a network of friends and have fun at the same time. This social aspect can be very important. “When kids play sports, there's a network where they can build friends, and, more than anything else, have a good time,” Carlos said. “That's the main idea of doing sports – having a good time. It’s the key when you do sports. If you don't enjoy yourself, why would you want to stay?”
Negative Aspects of Sports and Games?
We asked our experts if there were any negative aspects to sports or games – and they told us that, like anything, there could be negative aspects to sport – things like competitiveness, expense, and parental pressure. But, these negatives can easily be dealt with – and they can be important learning opportunities for your little ones.
Children might become over-competitive when playing sport – sometimes because of pressure from their parents – but this behaviour can be changed in a positive way: “Some children get very over-competitive and can have tantrums, but usually it's actually the parents who are far worse, and stand on the touch line shouting and screaming,” Chrissie said. “A child can learn that they have to back off a bit, and learn to have some patience, or learn that they can't always win, so actually I think that all becomes a positive.” And being competitive is not necessarily a bad thing.
When children play a competitive sport, they learn about how to deal with winning and with losing, which is an important skill for life. How do you encourage your little one to stay active and play sports and games? Share your experiences with us below – and remember to tune in for our next podcast about sports and children.