Benefits of Football for Children

By Gôl Centres

The benefits of football for children is numerous, and considering the 2018 Active Healthy Kids report card which showed a worrying decline in children participating in physical activity in Wales, now is an ideal time to convey those benefits to parents interested in getting their children to don their very first pair of football boots.

Physical Benefits

Muscle strength and development – Sport plays a pivotal role in the development of muscular strength with football offering huge benefits, especially in the leg and core muscles. With physical actions such as kicking, sprinting and turning, your child’s legs and core learn to cope with these new demands by increasing strength in these areas.

Stamina – With lots of sprinting movements, jogging and a little bit of walking, football offers benefits in both aerobic and anaerobic fitness, allowing your child’s body to function more efficiently for longer.

Less risk of becoming overweight – With mobile devices and video games becoming widespread in the past few years, children in Wales are living more sedentary lifestyles. With football burning around 300 calories per hour you can make sure your child isn’t getting a calorie intake excess which would result in unhealthy weight gain.

Mental Benefits

As well as the numerous physical benefits, playing football can benefit children both mentally and psychologically too. Scientifically speaking, when we exercise our bodies release chemicals called endorphins. The endorphins interact with receptors in the brain, resulting in a reduced perception of pain. They also trigger a positive feeling in our body which can result in having a positive outlook on life and a feeling of happiness. A comprehensive report concluded that participation in exercise increased serotonin levels in the brain, resulting in antidepressant and anxiolytic benefits.

Another benefit for children participating in football is their increased confidence and self-worth. This goes hand in hand with physical benefits such as improving strength, agility and speed as they are learning new skills which in turn provides a sense of accomplishment and new levels of confidence.

Other benefits include reduction of stress, increased concentration, increased memory and a reduction in behavioural issues/juvenile delinquency.

Social Benefits

Of course, an active child is more likely to become an active adult, but lesser known to the masses is the huge social benefits participating in football can have for children.

The most obvious benefit is having the opportunity to meet new friends and developing their ability to approach new social situations.

Government research found that a shocking 47% of year 6 pupils had reported being bullied during the previous academic year. Playing football outside of school hours can offer children a great source of social support.

Life Skills

Perhaps the most underrated benefit of children playing football is the long list of life skills attained.

Some of these skills include:

  • Communication
  • Organisation
  • Rules and Structure
  • Goals and Objectives
  • Positive Attitude
  • Problem Solving
  • Patience
  • Dedication

Along with these skills, children can learn about leadership and perhaps most importantly, respect.

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