Playing sports in the outdoor environment has long been associated with positive health and well being for the kids. It is this traditional wisdom that has led us to create numerous parks, fields, play areas, tennis courts and basketball areas all around us. Encouraging children to play outside has been found to produce numerous positive benefits. Not only is it known to develop children physically and facilitate their mental growth but it can also teach them a lot of social skills that can help them to become responsible citizens in the future. However, in recent times, changes within the environment and economic problems within the society have made it difficult for many of the children to indulge in outdoor sports which have not only compromised kids’ health but it can also become a problem for them in their future.
The importance of outdoor sports for children
Outdoor playing has long been deemed essential as a part of the school curriculum. Outdoor kids sports have been considered to promote emotional, physical, cognitive and social well being for a person. They not only provide children with conditions necessary for the children to learn about their environment but also thrive and find high levels of joy. Playing and indulging in sports can help the children to learn problem-solving skills, experiment with new ideas, cultivate their creative abilities and also cooperate with others.
In this way, children can have positive mental health and actually develop deeper knowledge and understanding about themselves and the world around them. Sports training and the freedom to indulge in unstructured play can serve as formidable forces in the character development of children. The group interactions that are common in sports activities can help children to develop confidence, positive self-esteem, and clarity of thought, autonomy and better decision making abilities.
Outdoor activities help in physical and mental development
The importance of youth sports activities and playing in an outdoor setting for children can never be overstressed. The distinct facilities and benefits that can be provided by outdoor sports is something that can never be recreated in an inner environment. The outdoors functions as an open, dynamic and constantly changing scenario that allows children to experience authentic freedom. It also enables children to carry out boisterous movements while at the same time come into contact with various natural elements.
Another distinct advantage of playing sports in an outdoor environment is that it allows children to enjoy a constant exposure to sunlight, the open air and the natural elements which can facilitate better bone and structural development, cultivation of the muscles and a powerfully functioning immune system. This can also uplift the spirits of the children as they play out in the open. The chemicals that are released in the body in this way can actually positive moods and contentment at all times. Children can also actively avoid the health problems associated with obesity and overweight by playing outdoors.
Changing ways of society affecting children’s lifestyle
While plenty of people are aware of all or at least some of the health and fitness benefits that can come from outdoor sports and playing, there is now a growing trend wherein children are spending less and less time outside. With the growing levels of urbanization, globalization, increased use of technology and changing lifestyles, children are finding it more difficult than ever before to get an opportunity to play sports outside their homes. There is also a rising culture of fear which has led to this problem of reduced tendencies of outdoors playing activities.
For instance, many parents are worried these days that their children might be kidnapped, sexually or physically assaulted by strangers or harmed in some other ways which are making them keep their children indoors. The increased need for financial resources have led to both parents working which means that they are often not able to accompany their kids to the playground when they would prefer to indulge in some outdoor sports.
Environmental factors that affect kids’ health and sports activities
The growing environmental pollution is yet another factor that is making it difficult for children to actively pursue sports and fitness activities in day to day lives. The growing levels of industrialization is definitely impacting the environment and in many countries all over the world, there is now an increased level of pollution that is making it difficult for people to breathe in pure air. Children have a greater need for oxygen in comparison to their body mass and this becomes more aggravated while playing sports.
However, they may find it difficult to have access to pure air due to increased levels of pollution. It is a well-known fact that children’s lungs are vulnerable to harmful pollutants which can eventually lead to serious pulmonary conditions. This is also one of the most important reasons for which children are losing interest in sports. Along with this, changes in the climate in various parts of the world is also making it difficult for the kids to play in the outdoors.
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Parents’ insecurities leading to children having overprotected life
Over the last few years, there have been instances where young kids have become injured due to car accidents. The security of children also has been compromised due to interactions with strangers. Such cases have only led to more worry for the parents and led to improper parenting. However, in some cases, the fears of parents have been rather unfounded. Many parents have their own unresolved insecurities which have little to do with reality and they may pass on their fears to the children. It is such crippling fears which inevitably make them prohibit their children from playing outdoors and have a normal childhood like they are supposed to. The use of social media is also somewhat responsible to propagate a mindset of fear. On many occasions, they simply tend to highlight the darker aspects of society and this eventually makes it difficult for them to imagine a better life for their children with more security. Such factors have a major role to play in the decreasing trends of outdoor activities for children.
Changes in the mindset of children
There are also some other lifestyle factors that seem to reduce the overall time children tend to play outdoors. In many cases, parents are not sure as to how they may keep their kids engaged and entertained while they are out working. Eventually, this has led many parents to encourage their kids to play video games or have an active life in the online world. Many kids these days take more interest in playing video games instead of throwing the ball in the park. This has got numerous far-reaching effects than one can imagine. Children today lack the social skills that they need as they do not have sufficient interaction with other kids.
Even though one can definitely visit their friends in their homes, they hardly have the kind of outdoorsy action that was considered to be normal even one or two decades ago. They also do not take an active interest in physical activity that leads to skeletal and muscular development. It is, therefore, no wonder that many children face serious health problems caused by obesity and blood sugar. Additionally, a lot of children tend to travel with their parents in their cars, thus ignoring common activities like running and walking which can be beneficial for health in important ways.
Financial struggles and its impact on sports activities
The children of today also struggle with poverty when it comes to making decisions in their lives. For a lot of people, having an active and outdoorsy way of life is associated with a certain kind of affluence. This is something that not many people can afford. However, children must understand that the simple joys of indulging in outdoor sports and health activities need not cost a fortune. It is also possible to play outdoor games easily without having to spend a lot of money in the process. Parents should try and actively encourage children to be outdoors for as long as they can during the day. The schools should also include outdoor physical activity in their curriculum so that the children of today become model citizens of tomorrow.
An active routine of outdoor sports activities can not only keep children physically healthy but it can also encourage many of them to take up sports professionally later in life. This can also lead to better character development in the long run. We would be glad to accept your views or suggestions regarding the content. You can contact us directly through our comments section.