Sports: More Than Just a Game
More than 7.6 million high school students played sports during the 2010-2011 school year, an increase of nearly 40,000 students compared to 2009-2010 according to usnews.com. Why is this number so high? The benefits of playing sports are not just physical. While many students get involved in high school athletics for sheer love of the game, there are significant benefits from these extracurricular activities as well. Being an athlete teaches life lessons like teamwork and leadership. Being on a team gives students the opportunity to feel like they are important. Playing sports helps students maintain physical fitness, and also positively affects them psychologically and socially. This needs to be stressed in schools across the country by educating parents that high school sports are more than just a game.
Let's start with the physical aspect of being involved in high school athletics. Having a healthy body has many benefits. Livestrong.com states that participation in school sports supports the healthy growth of the heart, lungs, muscles, and bones. Exercise provides long-term benefits as well, such as the reduced risk of debilitating diseases like cardiovascular disease and diabetes, reduced level of body fat, and an improved cholesterol profile. It can also result in strengthening of the bones and muscles which can help reduce risk of arthritis and osteoarthritis. According to the National Vital Statistics Reports, cardiovascular disease was the leading cause of death in the United States in 2009, higher even than cancer! With preventative measures available, parents should become aware of methods that could potentially prolong their children's life. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention includes being overweight/obesity and physical inactivity on the list of lifestyle choices that can put people at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease. Parents should realize that instilling an active lifestyle in...
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