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What Are the Health Benefits of Playing Youth Sports?

author image Sam Ashe-Edmunds
Sam Ashe-Edmunds has been writing and lecturing for decades. He has worked in the corporate and nonprofit arenas as a C-Suite executive, serving on several nonprofit boards. He is an internationally traveled sport science writer and lecturer. He has been published in print publications such as Entrepreneur, Tennis, SI for Kids, Chicago Tribune, Sacramento Bee, and on websites such Smart-Healthy-Living.net, SmartyCents and Youthletic. Edmunds has a bachelor's degree in journalism.
What Are the Health Benefits of Playing Youth Sports?
A youth baseball team. Photo Credit Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

Playing sports provides many health benefits for kids beyond simply developing hand-eye coordination and burning calories. Although those are two important benefits of exercise, youth sports can also helps prevent a variety of diseases and conditions and set children on a path to a more healthy adulthood.

Reduces Risk of Osteoporosis

Weight-bearing activity helps improve bone density, an important health matter, especially for females. While approximately 25 percent of men will fracture a bone during their seniors years, half of all women will, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. The Women's Sports Foundation recommends that teen girls participate in sports to help prevent osteoporosis later in life.

Promotes Weight Loss

Approximately one in three children is overweight or obese, according to the American Heart Association. The problem is twofold: poor diet and lack of exercise. Children who are overweight are more likely to be overweight as adults, increasing their risk for diseases and conditions such as diabetes, heart attack, poor cholesterol and high blood pressure. Regular aerobic exercise can raise high-density lipoproteins, or your body's "good" cholesterol. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can lead to heart disease, stroke and kidney failure. Weight loss can help reduce high blood, so sports that burn calories help address this problem.

Improves Stamina and Endurance

The more children participate in sports, the more they improve cardiovascular stamina and muscular endurance, or their activity to work over a period of time. The more endurance and stamina children have, the less likely they will fatigue during other activities, including play, walking to school or doing chores. Having more energy means your kid will be more alert and enthusiastic.

Improves Flexibility

Most children are naturally flexible. But, children who play sports stretch their muscles on a regular basis during practice and games. If their coach includes pre-game warmups and post-activity static stretching, this will further improve the child's flexibility. Being flexible means your kid will be more agile. This ability to move and bend will serve her well during game play.

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