Not only are family sports a great way to spend time together and teach your children about fair play and teamwork, family sports also provide multiple health benefits for all members of the family. From playing dodgeball, baseball and basketball to swimming laps at the local community pool, commit to regularly scheduling time for family sports. Here are five benefits:
1. Weight Management
The most efficient method of weight management or weight loss is through a healthy diet and regular exercise. Therefore, it would only make sense that regularly participating in family sports would be an ideal method of weight management, when combined with a healthy diet. An hour of shooting hoops will result in approximately 320 calories being burned, while swimming laps at a slow pace for an hour burns approximately 493 calories.
2. Mood Stabilization
Exercise can be fun and it is wise to begin teaching the pleasurable effects of exercise at a young age. By participating in family sports, you can show your children that there are other forms of entertainment besides video games and television. Exercise stimulates brain chemicals, releasing endorphins into your system, that leave you feeling accomplished and relaxed. Regular exercise has been shown to reduce the symptoms that are commonly associated with depression.
3. Sleep Promotion
Exercising in the morning or mid-day can actually lead to better sleep, although you should avoid exercising or engaging in a family sport too close to bedtime, as this can make you overly energized, making falling asleep difficult. Because regular exercise has been shown to be a stress reliever and mood enhancer, you are less likely to stay awake at night worrying about life’s demands.
4. Increased Energy Levels
Regular exercise is necessary for a strong cardiovascular system–the system responsible for circulating blood through your body. When the heart and lungs are weak, due to lack of exercise or obesity, they must work harder. However, by routinely exercising, the heart and lungs will strengthen. As the heart lungs strengthen, they do not need to work as hard, which will make you less tired and winded when doing everyday tasks. You will find that you wake up feeling more rested as you prepare to start your day.
5. Disease Prevention
Regular exercise, including family sports, is a proven method of preventing osteoporosis, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, regular exercise promotes a healthy immune system, leading to fewer cold symptoms during the year. In fact, exercise boosts the production of macrophages which attack bacteria within the body. In addition, immune cells quickly circulate throughout the body during exercise, killing bacteria and viruses that lead to cold and flu symptoms.
As we mentioned above, exercise is known to decrease stress, often being recommended to individuals suffering from depression. Because psychological stress impairs immunity, leading to more colds throughout the year, exercise is important for decreasing the amount of psychological stress that an individual experiences.