I think we can all agree that the coronavirus lockdowns have left us with more time for reflection this year, and one of the things I have thought about since writing for Keep Fit Kingdom, is the impact that starting sport at a young age has had on my life.
I’ve written about this in some of my other articles but quite frankly the benefits by far outweigh any negatives, so I thought I’d write about a few more of them here that take effect from a young age, as identified from my own personal experience. I also asked my mum, who encouraged all three of her children into sport. Her perspective I feel is equally if not more important to this subject, so this article is split into two sections. Benefits of Starting Sport at a Young Age: A Parent & Student’s Perspective!
Despite the positive outlook towards fitness widely accepted in society today, there is a prevalent stigma of exercise being something you have to do rather than want to do. Being a child, I wasn’t exposed to or affected by this idea, and so developed, of my own accord, a love for being active as I found it fun and it made me feel good.
Therefore, growing up I enjoyed trying new sports in P.E. and carried with me that understanding of the well-being found within sport, despite coming into contact with other people’s differing attitudes to exercise.
The process of learning and competing in sport instilled in me a drive to improve myself and be my best at all the things I tried, which carried over to academia and other parts of my life.
Somewhat sadly, I noticed this aspect of myself most in secondary school P.E. I couldn’t comprehend just how many of the students who didn’t have a sporting background (especially girls), said ‘I can’t do it’ before actually trying the activity.
Of course, there are numerous reasons why they may have felt that way but I got a strong sense that they didn’t believe in their capability to excel in sport, especially in comparison to their confidence in other subjects. Therefore, I think that being immersed in a sporty environment as a child, certainly helps you develop a mentality of self-improvement and applying yourself to challenges as best you can.
My Mother’s Perspective
Whether it be sports lessons or any type of club setting, it allows your children to develop social skills and make friends which helps with their mental well-being. It’s also a chance for mothers to socialise as you can sometimes feel isolated on maternity/paternity leave etc.
Furthermore, exercise tires them out! They’ll sleep better at night, helping you out, and it adds an activity to their schedule that improves their sense of a consistent daily routine. (A virtuous cycle in other words!)
It’s an opportunity to develop their cognitive skills, before and during school, and learn the process of acquiring new skills: listening to instructions, thinking about them, applying learnt skills and trying to improve upon them. This also teaches them patience. They come to understand that you’re not always good at things; you have to work at it to become better and be kind to yourself in the process.