Having a healthy mind is just as, if not more, important than having a healthy body
BY DR JONAS FERNANDEZ
We were at the crossroads the other day. Which way to go? Each option seemed to have its own pros and cons. I am of course speaking figuratively; we weren’t actually stranded without direction in the middle of the road.
A little bit of a backstory. Growing up, I played in individual and team sports, taekwondo and hockey. These sports have given me a lot. There are obvious reasons people play sports.
The euphoria of winning a game or a tournament is the ultimate aim of any athlete. But that’s just the end result, not the more important process. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “it’s not the destination, it’s the journey”.
So, what is it you gain from playing sports? Discipline, friends and learning a new skill to name just a few. The same definitely applies to children as well. Medically speaking, there is a lot to benefit from it both physically and mentally.
I enrolled my kids for both swimming and rugby classes. However, if I had left it up to my kids, they’d choose to laze around at home over going out on the field and running around. And they would do so in a heartbeat.
Developing confidence and a stronger personality
Being out and about, sweating it out, will reduce the risk of obesity as they burn calories doing so. Furthermore, it also improves their general cardiovascular health. Active kids also tend to grow better.
Their muscles are more developed and their bones stronger. Being under the sun helps with this as well. Sun exposure helps with Vitamin D absorption, leading to stronger bones. Balance and coordination of a child is also developed when they participate in sporting activities.
It is said that having a healthy mind is just as, if not more important, than having a healthy body. Being involved in sports certainly helps with this. A child will grow in confidence and develop a stronger personality.
A shy kid may start to be more sociable and the mischievous little fellow may start to follow instructions better. For me personally, it offers a great opportunity to observe how my kids socialise with other children, as it’s only during sports that I get to see this, as opposed to school, whereby it’s mostly behind closed doors. The best benefit of all (for parents) comes at the end of the day, when it is lights out time, the kids are usually tired and sleep better at night.
Physical and mental development
Like any other thing in life, playing sports, for children in particular, may be a double-edged sword. There are many questions you ask yourself. Is this the right sport for your kid? Are they having fun playing?
As stated earlier, the goal should be aimed towards physical and mental development. Not being able to properly participate in certain types of physical sports might do more harm if the child isn’t ready or interested in it. Their confidence could also take a hit if they are stuck on the sidelines in team sports.
So, this brings me back to the crossroads. There are obvious medical benefits from partaking in sports, however, there is a balance to be struck as well. How do we know when to push and when to hold back?
I suppose there is no straightforward answer to this as every child is different and should be treated as such. At the end of the day, his or her overall wellbeing must be considered first and the journey should be enjoyable. – The Health