3 Life Changing Benefits of Physical Activity for Adaptive Athletes

It’s human nature to gravitate towards things that are easy and avoid things that are challenging

Why do people spend an entire weekend binge-watching streamed movies versus exercising for 30-minutes?

Initially, we often need some type of motivation to get us to go to the gym or to join that recreational sports team. It helps to remind ourselves why we are doing this in the first place and how it will benefit us in the long term.

If your child is feeling similarly unmotivated, here is a quick reminder of how investing a little time exercising can pay off with lifelong benefits:

Exercise Stimulates the Brain

Watching movies may be enjoyable, but it doesn’t challenge the brain. Physical activity stimulates the brain in several ways. When your child learns a new sport, his brain must work to understand and retain the rules of the game. As your daughter practices a gymnastics routine, she draws on her memory of the routine to guide her through the sequence of movements.

In both scenarios, your child’s brain is challenged, and the mental strength that gained can translate to improvements in other areas of life. If your son can remember the rules for playing basketball, the same skill can translate to remembering how to use a cell phone and what his home address is. Your daughter’s ability to learn and retain the order of a series of dance moves will help her to remember the steps for carrying out tasks like washing laundry or cooking her favorite meal.

Exercise Improves Coordination and Motor Skills

Is your child bored with physical therapy routines designed to improve his coordination and enhance his motor skills? Participating in a sport can be a fun way to work on these same skill sets.

If the focus is on hand-eye coordination, consider basketball, bowling, golf, softball, poly hockey, volleyball or tennis. Are you looking to improve overall whole-body coordination? Try flag football, gymnastics, track, and field or swimming.

Dance is also an excellent way for kids to have fun while getting their heart rates up and bodies moving.

Exercise Provides an Opportunity for Community & Socialization

Getting exercise and staying active is often easier if we do it in a social setting. Our Lions United athletes love the camaraderie they enjoy while working out in the gym or playing a sport together.

Kids who have physical disabilities can benefit from joining an adaptive sports team. There they will meet other kids with similar disabilities and share in the fun of playing one of their favorite sports.

If your child has an intellectual disability, the Special Olympics provides a wonderful opportunity to be a part of a large community of athletes in a wide range of sports. The Special Olympics is dedicated to inclusion and a vision of erasing the misunderstandings and preconceptions that others have about people with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics unified sports teams bring together athletes both with and without intellectual disabilities through their shared love of the game.