The Benefits of Sport for Adolescents

Sport is a big part of a PSA students’ lifestyle – but it’s not just about competition and results on the field.

Research indicates that, as well as the obvious physical benefits, sport has many positive impacts on adolescents psychological and social wellbeing. Sport has been proven to help physical and mental health and wellbeing, as well as develop essential life skills that help adolescents both on and off the sporting field.[1]

Participating in organised sport is an easy way for young people to stay fit and healthy. According to the Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee, involvement in physical activity is associated with improved bone health, improved weight status, increased cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, and reduced risk of cancer and diabetes[2]. The Australian Government Department of Health recommends that children aged 5-17 should get at least one hour of exercise a day. 

Participating in sport helps students develop the building blocks they need for success in their academic and career pursuits. Sport helps young people learn to lose graciously and, in turn, to develop resilience. The lessons learned and developed through sport in the formative years of a child’s life will impact them well into their adult life. Participating in sports is associated with improved teamwork, social skills and social responsibility, as well as improved life skills such as goal setting, time management, work ethic and leadership skills.[3]

While the benefits of sport for physical health are well known, sport can also have a big impact on young peoples’ mental health and wellbeing. School and life can be stressful for adolescents from time to time. Being physically active produces endorphins, the ‘happy hormone,’ helping participants to clear their mind and relax. This is also associated with lower amounts of stress, anxiety and depression.[4]

Sport gives children and teenagers a support network to lean on, where they can bond and co-operate with teammates and competitors alike. It provides a sense of belonging and acts as a way for them to socialise and make friends from a young age. Through socialising and achieving in sport, young people gain confidence and their self-esteem is improved.

For more information, speak to your school about the sporting options available for your child.

[1] Whitley MA, Massey WV, Wilkison M. A programme evaluation of ‘Exploring Our Strengths and Our Future’: Making sport relevant to the educational, social, and emotional needs of youth . J Sport Dev. 2017;5(9):21-35.

[2] . 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee. 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Scientifc Report. Part F. Chapter 8: Youth. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2018

[3] Hermens N, Super S, Verkooijen KT, Koelen MA. A systematic review of life skill development through sports programs serving socially vulnerable youth. Res Q Exerc Sport. 2017;88(4):408-424. doi:10.1080/02701367.2017.1355527

[4] Sanders CE, Field T, Diego M, Kaplan M. Moderate involvement in sports is related to lower depression levels among adolescents . Adolescence. 2000;35(140):793-797