Sign up children for team sports

There are numerous benefits to signing your child up for recreational sports, whether a team or a solo sport. There's no one sure path to your child finding a sport they love to play. Sometimes it's simply letting younger ones tag along with older siblings; other times, it could be a sport organised in your child's school.

Whichever route you take, experts all agree that being a part of a team is essential to the 'healthy body, healthy mind' mantra. "A team sport can give your child the collegiate enjoyment being a part of something gives us all," Victorian Regional Academies of Sport chairman Graham Gordon said.

Benefits

"Outside of the obvious social benefits, and development/learning of sport-specific skills; recreational sports also offer a great way for your child to meet and even exceed current physical activity guidelines," La Trobe University exercise science lecturer Steve Cousins said.

Daily movement

"It is recommended they accumulate at least 60-minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intense physical activity every day, including a variety of aerobic activities and activities that strengthen their muscles and bones."

Health

This then offers several potential physical and mental health benefits, including improved bone health, insulin sensitivity and blood lipid profiles, increased psychological well-being, and reduces future risk of cardiovascular disease.

"Regular participation in adequate amounts of sport and physical activity also helps to facilitate weight control and promotes favourable body composition and has been linked to improved academic performance, while stimulating a more positive attitude towards a lifetime of physical activity in children," Cousins added.

Playing sport also provides children with the opportunity to develop sports competence. "Childhood is an ideal and opportunistic time to maximise motor skill proficiency due to the natural and accelerated rate at which the brain and central nervous system mature." This vital timeframe should be used by introducing children to a broad range of sports to help develop foundational movement competency.

Childhood is an ideal and opportunistic time in which to maximise motor skill proficiency.

Steve Cousins, La Trobe University
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