Have you ever heard the saying "healthy body, healthy mind"? Well, according to Jens Bangsbo, a Danish professor of physiology and sports science at the University of Copenhagen and a former football player, "exercise significantly boosts the health of children, their knowledge of health and their learning ability." And what better way to get your kids exercising than through the beautiful game of football.
A Football for Health study investigated football training in schools and sports clubs* and the results were truly encouraging. Small-sided football training (think mini-games with fewer players on a smaller field, or futsal) has been found to induce high heart rates, a large number of intense actions, and technical success rates for boys and girls regardless of their fitness level or prior experience with football.
But the benefits don't stop there. 98% of children who are members of football clubs achieve the physical activity recommendation of health authorities and they have stronger bones, less fat and greater aerobic fitness than non-sport club members. Imagine that, your child getting all that exercise while having fun and making new friends!
And it's not just the football clubs that provide the opportunities for the kids to play. School-based football involvement including organised football as well as playing regularly in the playground at break times, has been found to improve bone health, heart health, physical capacity and learning in children aged 8-12 years old.
In summary, playing football can provide a number of benefits for children, including:
- Physical fitness: Football requires running, kicking, and other physical activity, which can help children improve their overall fitness and health.
- Teamwork: Football is a team sport, which can teach children the importance of working together and communicating with others.
- Discipline: Football requires discipline and focus in order to be successful, which can help children develop self-discipline and a strong work ethic.
- Confidence: As children become more skilled at football, they may develop more confidence in themselves and their abilities.
- Socialising: Playing football allows children to interact with other children and build friendships.
- Stress Relief: Football is a great way for children to release energy and reduce stress.
- Mental benefits: Football can help children improve their memory, problem-solving skills and decision-making abilities.
So, whether your child is part of a club or just playing at school, football is a fantastic way to improve their health and fitness.
*Information sourced from the British Journal of Sports Medicine
This week, 6th to 12th February 2023 is Children's Mental Health Week, started in 2015 by the children's mental health charity Place2Be to shine a spotlight on the importance of children and young people’s mental health. Find out more here: childrensmentalhealthweek.org.uk
Suggested additional reading:
Futsal Frenzy: The new and exciting way to get your kids into football