Monday, July 20, 2009

National Youth Sports Week

Photo Credit: brennaval

This week, July 20-24, is National Youth Sports Week. As the title suggests, this week is intended to promote youth sports and the many benefits of athletic activity.

Involvement in sports offers a broad variety of benefits for youth as well as adults. Aside from a healthier, more balanced lifestyle and improved physical condition, participation in athletics often results in higher academic performance and improved interpersonal skills.

Need additional motivation to become active? According to the CDC:
“Physical activity reduces the risk of premature mortality in general, and of coronary heart disease, hypertension, colon cancer, and diabetes mellitus in particular. Regular physical activity in childhood and adolescence improves strength and endurance, helps build healthy bones and muscles, helps control weight, reduces anxiety and stress, increases self-esteem, and may improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels.”
Encouraging youth to be physically active is especially important. Research shows that since the 1970s, the prevalence of obesity for children aged 6-11 years has increased to 17%; it is 17.6% for children aged 12-19 years. This can translate into significant health risks in the future.

Regardless of your age, National Youth Sports Week offers a great opportunity to think more about your health and make positive changes to your lifestyle (or maintain the good habits you already have). Here are a few easy and inexpensive activities to suggest to kids or do yourself:
  1. Join a sports league
  2. Play a game of pick-up basketball
  3. Get a group together to play baseball
  4. Take a walk/hike in the park. July is Parks & Recreation month, and many parks are offering free admission this year because of the recession.
  5. Play tennis
Busy as you may be, it is worth taking the time to get out of your office or house to become involved. Participating in and promoting these activities in your area will strengthen and improve the health of your community. You'll reap the benefits for years to come.

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