National Parks and Recreation Month Friday Feature: Sports for the Win

Posted on July 28, 2017

Whether you’re running down the field, cheering from the stands or even sitting on the bench, the benefits of sports can’t be denied. Aside from the obvious physical exercise and cardiovascular workout that sports provide, the mental and emotional benefits are plentiful.

  • Sense of Community: One of the first things athletes learn is how to get along and play as a team. This means striving to keep interactions positive with not only other players, but also coaches, referees and other community members. People who simply watch sports get the benefit, too. Ever exchange a smile with a total stranger who was also wearing your favorite team’s jersey? Cheering on a team toward a common goal unites fans from all walks of life, so be sure to watch your kids’ softball games and your spouse’s basketball league. You just might end up having a great time and meeting new friends!
  • Critical Thinking: Playing a sport is more than just running around with a ball. Athletes memorize, strategize, set goals and learn by working through mistakes. These are all excellent tools for kids (and adults!) to have and can translate to classroom/workplace success. Studies have shown that student athletes often perform better in school; the stereotypes just aren’t true. Time and again, participating in sports has proven to be beneficial to academics, not a distraction.
  • Emotional Health: Achievements in sports offer your self-esteem a big boost, which often leads to more off-the-field confidence as well. Exercise in general reduces stress, but team sports also offer a built-in support system of teammates. As athletes build trust and friendship with their teams, they become a great resource to turn to in times of stress – whether the stress is sports-related or not.

Check out more on our Sports program’s webpage.

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