National Youth Sports Week July 20-26 and Summer Safety Tips
Well time surely flies as they say, especially in the summer in Minnesota! I had meant to do an article at the beginning of summer discussing water and sun safety and as well as an encouragement to stay physically active. However, with one son graduating from high school and another moving home from college and 3 of the kids involved in 6 different sports teams, the summer got off to a fast start and time got away from me. Then in reviewing possible topics for July, I found that the National Council on Youth Sports is celebrating National Youth Sports Week this year from July 20 to 26.
So I guess it’s never too late to talk about the benefits of youth sports and summer safety topics. The benefits of youth sports range from physical fitness, to improved mental health, to learning skills of teamwork, dedication and leadership that will translate into success later in life.
73% of parents believe that sports benefit their child’s mental health, and the studies bear that out. Participation in sports leads to lower levels of anxiety and depression, lower amounts of stress, higher self-esteem and confidence, less substance abuse and fewer risky behaviors. Many factors come into play but just keeping kids occupied with less idle time and boredom seems to be one key. I know in my own kids, despite them feeling overwhelmed at times, they tend to do better in all areas when they are participating in sports along with academics. Of course, it’s important to pay attention to clues that they are feeling too overwhelmed, and academics must be emphasized first.
Participating in sports naturally leads to increased activity levels which promotes cardiovascular fitness and reduced risk of illnesses like cancer and diabetes. A recent study showed that 75% of U.S. teens aren’t getting the recommended daily exercise, particularly females. Additionally, adolescents who play sports are 8 times more likely to be physically active at age 24 than those who did not play sports, so those benefits persist into adulthood. On a broader level, all these findings translate into a society with decreased health care costs and stronger labor market.
Of course, it is important to have some down time and especially in the summers here in Minnesota there are many enjoyable activities like biking, hiking, swimming and boating. Just a plug to enjoy those safely by wearing helmets, life jackets and using sunscreen and bug spray as well as other measures to prevent mosquito and tick bites. The year 2021 showed a sharp increase in boating fatalities and non-boating drownings so let’s all do our part to keep that number down this year. If you have children who operate water equipment, insist that they get their boating safety certification offered through the DNR.
For more information:
health.gov has much information about the National Youth Sports Strategy which has the goal to increased participation in youth sports
dnr.state.mn.us has much information about water safety, recreational vehicle safety as well as hunter safety