Another summer comes to a close, and kids everywhere are returning to their desks, spending most of their days in a seated position. Remember that their brains aren’t the only muscles that need exercise! Fight back against this sedentary new reality by finding and enrolling your child in an organized sport activity.
It is a misconception that the physical education curriculum in schools is sufficient. On the contrary, kids need at least one hour every day of quality physical activity, preferably more, which is something they are not getting from their physical education classes alone. Likewise, numerous studies have shown that Canada’s youth are more inactive today than at any time in our history.
Sport is a perfect solution, providing great physical activity, as well as opportunities to improve physical literacy and refine fundamental movement skills. In addition to the many physical benefits, sport can also improve self-esteem, help with goal-setting, building teamwork, making friends and has even been demonstrated to improve concentration and academic performance.
Calgarians are lucky to live in a city with around 400 different sport organizations offering exciting opportunities to participate in more than 85 different sport activities! This incredible variety means that anyone, including the most reluctant athlete, can find something to engage their bodies and their minds, and keep them active.
With so many sport activities to choose from, why limit yourself to just one? Kids younger than 12 shouldn’t be concentrating exclusively on any one sport anyway. Experts have long advocated a multi-sport approach for kids until they are into their teens, and studies have shown that those with a multi-sport background tend to out-perform their peers who have concentrated in only one sport.
The multi-sport approach has other benefits as well. Kids not only need to acquire the fundamental movement skills necessary for sport (think running, jumping, throwing, etc.), but they need to practice those skills on a regular basis. A range of sport activities is the best way to refine those skills and improve physical literacy.
If cost is an issue, you’re not alone. A recent study commissioned by KidSport and CIBC found that one-third of Canadian kids don’t participate actively in sport primarily because of the high cost of enrolment and equipment. If this affects your family, remember that KidSport, for example, is a national sport funding organization dedicated to removing these kinds of financial barriers, and receiving help can be as simple as filling out an online application form at www.kidsport.ab.ca.
Last but not least, don’t forget about unstructured active play, not just for kids but for the whole family. Just running around, swinging on monkey bars, riding bikes, somersaulting down a hill and other kinds of imaginative playtime activities are immensely beneficial, and should always form part of your children’s schedule.
Calgary’s Child Magazine © 2019 Calgary’s Child