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why multi-sports is great for kids

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1. Introduction

In 2023, the Youth Sport Trust Annual Report confirmed that whilst our children are on the whole, unhappier, unhealthier and more disconnected than in previous years, they actually WANT to do more exercise or sport than they currently are.

Parents are on the whole (72%) concerned that young people are not getting enough physical activity, but only 43% of them are aware that children should be active for 60 minutes or more a day.

But what exactly is exercise and why is it essential for our children?

“Exercise for children” refers to physical activities that children engage in to promote their health, well-being, and physical development. These activities are specifically designed to suit children’s age, abilities, and interests while encouraging movement and active participation. It can take many forms: 

  • Active Play: Activities that involve running, jumping, climbing, and playing games that naturally encourage movement and physical exertion.
  • Structured Activities: Organised sports, dance classes, martial arts, gymnastics, swimming, or team-based activities that provide a more structured approach to physical activity and skill development.
  • Outdoor Play: Activities in natural settings, such as hiking, cycling, playing in playgrounds, or exploring nature, which promote physical movement while allowing children to connect with the environment.
  • Fitness Routines: Age-appropriate exercises or workouts designed to improve strength, flexibility, endurance, and overall fitness levels. These routines can include bodyweight exercises, stretching, and simple aerobic activities.

The aim is to promote healthy growth and development by enhancing cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength, bone health, coordination, balance, and flexibility. Additionally, regular physical activity in childhood contributes to better mental health, improved cognitive function, and the establishment of lifelong healthy habits.

It’s essential to ensure that exercise for children is safe, enjoyable, and adapted to their developmental stage and capabilities, promoting a positive attitude towards physical activity and encouraging a lifelong commitment to maintaining an active lifestyle.

2. The Physical Benefits of Exercise for Kids

Probably the most obvious benefit of exercise for children is in their physical health. 

Regular activities such as running, swimming or cycling helps strengthen the heart muscle, improves blood circulation, and enhances cardiovascular fitness. This, in turn, reduces the risk of heart diseases and conditions in the long term.

In addition, playing sports like football or rugby helps children develop stronger muscles – enhancing endurance and reducing the risk of injuries – stimulate bone growth and strengthen bone density. This is crucial for the development of healthy bones, reducing the risk of osteoporosis later in life.

Coordination and balance play pivotal roles in a child’s overall growth and development, impacting various aspects of their physical, cognitive, and social abilities:

  • Motor Skills Development: Coordination and balance are fundamental components of gross motor skills. Gross motor skills involve the coordination of large muscle groups and body movements. Developing these skills allows children to perform activities like walking, running, jumping, and climbing confidently and effectively.
  • Fine Motor Skills Enhancement: Coordination and balance also contribute to fine motor skills, involving more precise movements of smaller muscle groups, like those in the hands and fingers. Enhanced coordination and balance support activities such as writing, drawing, using utensils, and tying shoelaces.
  • Prevention of Injuries: Good balance helps prevent falls and injuries, promoting safety during play and daily activities. Enhanced coordination allows children to react swiftly to changes in their environment, reducing the risk of accidents.

Encouraging activities that challenge and improve coordination and balance, such as balance games, obstacle courses, sports, dance, and activities involving hand-eye coordination, is crucial in fostering well-rounded physical and cognitive development in children. And, whilst exercise in general can also, importantly help maintain a healthy weight by burning calories and reducing body fat – essential in combating childhood obesity – there are plenty of other not-so-obvious benefits too.

3. The Mental and Emotional Impact of Exercise on Children

As well as the visible and non-visible physical benefits of exercise, it also has a profound impact on the mental and emotional well-being of children in several ways:

  • Reducing Stress and Anxiety: Physical activity triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. This helps alleviate stress and anxiety levels in children, promoting a sense of relaxation and well-being.
  • Improving Mood: Regular exercise is linked to improved mood regulation and a reduction in symptoms of depression. Engaging in physical activity stimulates the brain to release neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, contributing to feelings of happiness and positivity.
  • Enhancing Cognitive Function: Exercise supports cognitive development and brain function in children. It improves focus, attention span, and the ability to concentrate, which can positively impact academic performance and learning outcomes.
  • Boosting Self-esteem and Confidence: Through physical activity, children achieve goals, learn new skills, and experience a sense of accomplishment. This contributes to building self-esteem and confidence as they see improvements in their abilities and physical fitness.
  • Developing Coping Mechanisms: Engaging in physical activity provides an outlet for children to release pent-up energy and emotions. It teaches them healthy ways to cope with stress, frustration, or emotional challenges they may encounter.
  • Improving Energy Levels: Contrary to the common misconception that exercise drains energy, regular physical activity actually boosts children’s energy levels. It enhances overall stamina and reduces fatigue, allowing them to participate more actively in daily activities.
  • Better Sleep Patterns: Exercise promotes better sleep quality and helps regulate sleep patterns in children, leading to improved overall health and cognitive function.

4. Social and Behavioural Aspects of Exercising for Children

Regular exercise, especially team sports or group activities, offers an invaluable setting for children to interact, collaborate, and build friendships. Team-based games cultivate a sense of camaraderie, teaching kids the significance of teamwork, cooperation, and mutual support.

Participation in group exercises instils vital social skills. Through activities that involve coordination and strategy, children learn to communicate effectively, respect differing opinions, and navigate conflicts amicably. This fosters a sense of empathy and understanding among peers, which carries over into various aspects of their lives.

But it is important that Parents, educators, and mentors play a crucial role in instilling the value of regular physical activity into the minds of children. Although they WANT to do more exercise, making sure they continue as they grow is a much bigger challenge. By explaining the benefits in an age-appropriate manner, children are more likely to embrace exercise as an enjoyable routine rather than a chore.

Creating a positive association with physical activity is key. Encouraging activities that align with a child’s interests or introducing variety in exercises keeps them engaged. Additionally, praising their efforts and progress instead of solely focusing on outcomes boosts their confidence and motivation.

There will be challenges along the way. It is important to overcome these challenges together.

  • Learning Resilience and Perseverance – Facing challenges during exercise—whether it’s mastering a new skill or pushing through fatigue—teaches resilience. Children learn to overcome obstacles, manage frustration, and develop the determination to persist in the face of difficulties.
  • Fostering Sportsmanship and Fair Play – Engaging in physical activities underlines the importance of fair play, respect for rules, and accepting both victories and defeats graciously. This instils a sense of sportsmanship and ethical behaviour, shaping their attitudes towards competition and cooperation.

5. Overcoming Challenges and Barriers to Kids’ Exercise

Overcoming challenges and barriers to kids’ exercise involves addressing common obstacles that hinder children from engaging in regular physical activity. This is something that we at Tiny Tekkers encounter and work through on a daily basis. However, as parents and caregivers, the approach you take at home and outside of our classes, will be very personal to you. Therefore, here are some strategies that might help to mitigate these challenges:

Limited Time: With busy schedules, finding time for exercise might be challenging. Try:

  • Scheduling designated periods for physical activity in the daily routine.
  • Incorporating short bursts of activity during breaks or after school.
  • Prioritising physical activity as a family, encouraging group activities.

Screen Time and Sedentary Habits: Excessive screen time can replace physical activity. Solutions might include:

  • Implementing screen time limits and establishing guidelines for device use.
  • Encouraging active screen time, such as using fitness apps or engaging in active video games.
  • Setting an example by reducing screen time and engaging in physical activities together.

Safety Concerns: Safety issues, especially for outdoor play, might be a concern for parents. Try:

  • Identifying safe and supervised areas for outdoor activities.
  • Teaching safety rules and precautions for various physical activities.
  • Exploring indoor alternatives during inclement weather or safety concerns.

Lack of Access to Facilities or Resources: Not having access to sports facilities or equipment can hinder exercise. Have a think about:

  • Exploring community centres, parks, or free recreational spaces for activities.
  • Utilising household items creatively as exercise props or equipment.
  • Seeking local programs (such as Tiny Tekkers!) or organisations offering low-cost or free physical activities.

Lack of Interest or Motivation: Some children may lack interest in certain activities. Strategies you might want to investigate include:

  • Allowing children to choose activities they enjoy to increase motivation.
  • Incorporating variety to keep activities engaging and fun.
  • Using positive reinforcement, praise, or rewards to encourage participation.

Peer Pressure or Social Barriers: Concerns about fitting in or feeling uncomfortable might hinder some children. Try:

  • Creating a supportive environment at home to build confidence.
  • Encouraging participation in group activities or sports to foster social interaction and teamwork.
  • Emphasizing the enjoyment of the activity rather than performance or competition.

Physical Limitations or Health Conditions: Children with physical limitations or health concerns might face challenges. Strategies include:

  • Consulting healthcare professionals for guidance on suitable activities.
  • Modifying activities to suit individual needs and abilities.
  • Focusing on inclusive activities that cater to various skill levels and abilities.

By addressing these challenges with proactive strategies and creating a supportive environment, parents and caregivers can help children overcome barriers to regular exercise and establish a lifelong habit of staying physically active.


In conclusion, the significance of exercise in a child’s life cannot be overstated. From fostering physical health to nurturing mental well-being and aiding in social development, the benefits of regular physical activity reverberate across every aspect of a child’s growth.

Exercise isn’t just about building strong muscles or ensuring a healthy heart; it’s a catalyst for a vibrant childhood. It’s the tool that sharpens cognitive abilities, the outlet for emotions, and the bridge that connects friendships.

At Tiny Tekkers, we gift them more than just moments of play; we give them the foundation for a lifetime of vitality, resilience, and happiness. Together with you, the parents and care-givers, let us continue to nurture and support our children in their journey towards lifelong well-being, one step, jump, or playful leap at a time. 

For it is in these moments of movement that they not only grow physically stronger but also cultivate the resilience and strength needed to thrive in every facet of their lives.

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