There are many reasons why we choose to enroll our children in organized sports. They allow our kids to discover their strengths, work toward personal goals, understand teamwork, make friends, expend some energy and reap the benefits of regular physical activity. They help them learn to win graciously and lose gracefully. Not to mention, they’re fun! And there are few things as satisfying as watching our kids grow and improve in a past time they truly love.
But the benefits don’t stop there and many of them translate quite well into other areas of life, one of which is the classroom. The brain benefits are just as important as the physical and emotional ones.
A study from Northeastern University found that playing sports enhances our ability to shut out unwanted noise and distractions and focus on the task at hand. This makes sense, given the omnipresence of stimuli in a sporting environment. The athlete must be able to drown it out and think only about the next move. This is a valuable skill in the classroom—especially for reading and test taking.
Researchers have long been curious about the link between regular exercise and memory and multiple studies demonstrate that there’s a positive connection. According to a Harvard Health blog post, many have shown that the parts of the brain responsible for thinking and memory are larger among people who regularly work up a sweat.
In a sport like tennis especially, young athletes must process and remember a lot of information—everything from correct scoring to proper footwork and positioning—quite quickly, which can benefit their memories as well.
It has mood-boosting, stress-relieving properties
You’ve probably heard of the “runner’s high,” which refers to the release of endorphins that occurs when we exercise. After a good run, we often feel relaxed and may have a more positive outlook than we did prior to exercising. You don’t need to log a 5k to achieve the same feeling. A few practice sessions a week are more than enough to reap the benefits.
Today’s kids feel an immense amount of pressure as a result of our hyper-connected, digital age. The opportunity to unplug, run around and have fun while building confidence and learning new skills is invaluable. It allows them to clear their heads so they can be more present, more productive and less stressed in other aspects of life.
An adequate amount of rest is essential to success both on the court and in the classroom. Young athletes’ bodies and brains need time to recharge. Besides simply tiring us out, according to the National Sleep Foundation, regular exercise aids the sleep cycle by raising our body temperatures. When it lowers later in the day, we feel sleepier and ready for a good night’s rest.
Fosters creative thinking and problem solving
Being successful in a sport like tennis requires athletes to respond to challenges quickly and decisively. It also requires them to think several steps ahead of the play at hand if they want to control the action and keep opponents on their toes. This sort of quick, creative problem solving translates naturally to a classroom setting, where they’ll be asked to answer questions and investigate problems they may not have encountered before.
You certainly don’t have to be the best athlete in the world to experience these benefits. If they’re committed to improving and trying their best at every practice, your young athlete will reap the brain benefits of regular exercise in no time.
If you think ROGace is a good fit for your child and you’d like to learn more, don’t hesitate to reach out!