Playing different sports and activities is best for physical development

Children who participate in a variety of sports and activities are less likely to get injured, according to research from the University of Connecticut. This recent study is more scientific evidence that supports multi-sport participation.

Sport sampling, as it’s also known, “promotes long-term physical activity, builds confidence, and allows for better development of fundamental movement skills,” writes author Colin Poitras. Sounds a whole lot like physical literacy.

In fact, the study’s primary investigator, Lindsay DiStefano, believes physical literacy is just as important as reading and writing. She explains if children “never develop physical literacy, then the likelihood of them being physically active is poor.”

In addition, findings show that children who exclusively participate in one sport have worse neuromuscular control than children who participate in more than one. Neuromuscular control is related to injuries and other medical conditions that can hinder athletic performance. According to DiStefano, “children who engage in a variety of activities have more opportunities to learn to control their body in response to different physical demands.”

Translation: lots of play can help long-term physical development.

DiStefano and her research team are working on ways to identify children who lack fundamental movement skills and interventions to help them develop physical literacy.

In the meantime, if you are still concerned that your child is not playing enough, check out different ways for kids to meet the daily 60-minute recommendation and use our Activity Log to keep track.

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