Health Matters: How Athletics Helps Your Child Flourish On and Off the Field

Many of the positive effects from athletics have nothing to do with the physical component

HEALTH MATTERS — Whether it’s playing kickball in gym class or joining a little league team, most of us were active as children.

Experts say athletics can build lifelong skills.

Most of us have that favorite chair or couch to sit to watch our hometown team.

Athletic trainers are challenging parents to get their kids off the couch and onto the playing field.

Sports play a large role in our lives…from childhood to adulthood.

Athletic Trainer Kate Ihle said sports can shape who you become.

“Sportsmanship. That’s a lifelong thing to know,” said Ihle. “How to be a good teammate. How to work with teams. How to do things on your own that benefit someone else. Those are great life skills.”

Getting active can help your child learn skills like staying hydrated and learning your body’s limits.

But many benefits have nothing to do with the physical component.

“You always feel better after you exercise,” added Ihle. “Unless you do too much, then you end up sore. Usually, when you are done, you never regret a workout. You feel better and throughout the rest of the day, it does improve your mood.”

Ihle said there is no harm in your child joining different clubs or taking different classes to find out what they like.

“A lot of it is just trial and error,” she said. “See what your kid seems to be drawn towards. If they are flipping through the TV and all of a sudden they stop at a basketball game.”

If there isn’t a sport your child wants to stick with, taking play dates outside is just as effective.

“There is always outdoor activities that can still keep kids active but aren’t necessarily categorized as a sport,” said Ihle.

It’s up to you and your child to decide when it’s the right time to add their name to the roster.

“There really isn’t too young. A lot of different teams and sports have a bottom age limit,” said Ihle. “So, as long as they are meeting those minimum requirements and they feel comfortable in the situation.”

We also talked to Ihle about injury prevention when it comes to working out.

You can find that story here.