Did you know that team sports help lower boys depression rates?
I’m a huge advocate of kids participating in team sports for so many reasons. For starters, I know my son well and understand how vital exercise is to his well-being. He needs to move his body and exert energy like he needs to breath air.
Then, I heard about a study that showed what makes a child happiest, above everything else, is sports and exercise. (I wrote about it here.)
And today, I just read a new study proving to me yet again, that team sports are so important to our kids.
Team Sports Lowers Boys Risk of Depression
Here’s the breakdown of what the study is saying:
Science has known for quite a while that when an adult has depression that is is linked to their hippocampus shrinking. The hippocampus is part of the brain that responds to stress.
So, Washington University in St. Louis started researching this same thing in children ages 9-11.
They found that when a child of that age played a team sport they had larger hippocampal volumes.
But, just because they had those large volumes, didn’t necessarily mean they were less depressed. The only group of children whose stress levels were lowered were the boys. Not the girls.
It stood out that in boys, there was a direct correlation between team sports and lower depression.
If you notice the reference to “team” sports and not just any sports or exercise there’s a reason for that. The lead author of the study said:
“We found that involvement in sports, but not non-sport activities such as music or art, is related to greater hippocampal volume in both boys and girls, and is related to reduced depression in boys.”
She believes that there is an added benefit to the structure and social interaction that makes this different from say, piano lessons.
I know not all kids love team sports. But if there is any way to keep trying until you find something that fits them, there is a serious health benefit. ♥
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- Why Risky Play Is So Good For Our Kids
Liz is a just a mom trying to keep it real about how little she sleeps, how often she gets puked on and how much she loves them. You can find her here every day writing about real-mom moments.