Every parent probably knows by now that keeping kids physically active has numerous benefits. Most parents also know that getting them to enjoy staying fit is much easier when they take part in sports they love, and football is one of those ever-popular ones that mini footballers seem to agree on.
“In general, sports impact children both physically and mentally,” says Dr Amith Kumar Krishna, a specialist orthopedic surgeon at Aster Hospital Mankhool. Playing football in particular can help children develop stronger muscles, bones and joints. Since this ensures that they’re physically active, it also reduces and controls body fat, hence leading to improved overall fitness.”
Recent studies have also proven that playing football boosts bone development in teenagers and greatly reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis later in life. It also helps establish a better body and mind connection, and coordination skills.
However, as with any other sport, there will always be associated risks. “Football is often a common cause of some bone and ligament injuries in children, but that’s no reason to keep them away from engaging in any form of sports or physical activity since the benefits of being physically active will always overshadow the occasional injury,” adds Krishna.
The most common injuries associated with football include concussions, caused by a sudden hit or jerk to the head, muscle and knee sprains as well as heat strokes or exhaustion when playing outdoors in the summer, an unlikely option anyway.
“Ensure that the environment the child plays in is suitable for the sport,” expains Krishna. “They must be wearing high-quality protective gear, coached well and well-hydrated at all times,” says Krishna. Most importantly, if parents notice anything unusual, they must get it checked.
Both sports and health experts recommend introducing children to football at the age of three or four. “Enroll your child in a class by the age of six, at school or outside, so that they get the required professional training to play efficiently,” advises Krishna.
Training, along with eating right, will deliver results. Football is a good way to achieve fitness goals and, who knows, maybe you’ll have your very own little Messis and Ronaldos running around in a couple of years – and that’s not the only reward.