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Life Sports

By: Elizabeth Grace - Updated: 27 Mar 2013 | comments*Discuss
Life Sports Sports Lessons Sporting

In an ideal world all people would eat great, healthy foods and get plenty of exercise all throughout their lives. The reality is quite different, however, with many people living sedentary lives and paying the price with their health. Encouraging kids and teens to take an interest in activities that they are likely to continue into adulthood is a terrific way to promote ongoing participation in sports, helping them to maintain robust health.

What are Life Sports?

The term "life sports" refers to exercises and activities that allow for participation over an entire lifespan. Some activities are fun for kids, but rarely engaged in by adults -- it isn't often that you see a group of forty-year-olds playing tag, hopscotch, or leapfrog, but many adults enjoy golf, tennis, and swimming. Getting kids interested in sports that they won't quickly outgrow is much like providing them with a bit of insurance, always a good idea.

Start Young

Habits formed in childhood are often hard to break, so it is important that parents and other carers make an effort to instill good habits in children right from the start. Encouraging active play in babies and toddlers helps them to develop strong muscles, improve coordination, and boost confidence. As children get a bit older and are able to better understand the complexities and rules of games, parents can begin introducing them to more structured activities.

Fun and Bonding

One of the best aspects of getting kids involved in life sports is the opportunity that parents have to establish traditions of the two generations playing together and enjoying each other's company. Kids who play golf or another life sport with their parents as youngsters are likely to continue doing so for years to come, possibly introducing their own children to the game at some point, allowing three generations to spend their leisure hours pursuing their favorite pastime together. It's important that parents are patient teachers when introducing children to a new sport -- after all, beginners are sure to make their share of mistakes while learning, but with practice will surely improve. If playing together is a fun and relaxing experience, kids are far more likely to stick with it than if they feel pressured to excel.

Examples of Life Sports

While most any sport or activity can in theory be a life sport, there are certain sports that lend themselves particularly well to being played by young and old alike. In order to help kids find the life sports that most appeal to them, they should be encouraged to try a variety in hopes that one or two will keep them interested enough to continue. A few of the most common include:

  • Golf
  • Tennis
  • Bowling
  • Swimming
  • Bicycling
  • Hiking
  • Martial Arts
  • Table Tennis
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Weight Training

Lessons and Sporting Equipment

Often, kids and teens express and interest in a new sport or activity only to lose interest a few months (or even weeks) later. For parents who have invested in costly lessons and equipment, this fickle attitude can be understandably exasperating. While it can be hard for parents to keep their cool when their children embark on a constantly changing stream of varying activities, it is important to remember that participation in sports is beneficial to good health in both the short and long term, so it may be worth indulging their children's changing interests when possible. Establishing a few guidelines can help everyone to see eye to eye. For example, kids may agree to stick with lessons for a predetermined period of time, even if they no longer find a particular sport interesting, but then are allowed to try another the next time. Parents may choose to rent sporting equipment in the beginning, but agree to purchase better quality gear once a child has shown a long term commitment to a specific sport. In time, most kids will find one or two sports that they enjoy enough to play for a number of years and who knows, maybe even for a lifetime.

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