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Childhood Adventures and Team Sports Boost Well-Being

Children playing team sport soccer huddled around coach on field

Adrià Crehuet Cano/

The pandemic has challenged both children’s learning environments and their emotional well-being, but new research shows that playing adventurously outdoors and participating in team sports can help lower their mental health risks. Researchers from the UK University of Exeter surveyed nearly 2,500 parents of 5-to-11-year-olds in the UK and Northern Ireland. The study found that kids that climbed trees, rode bikes, jumped from high surfaces and had other outdoor adventures without adult supervision experienced a lower incidence of anxiety and depression, and were more upbeat during the COVID-19 lockdown. In another study, researchers from California State University, Fullerton, found that kids in team sports like volleyball and soccer, but not others in individual sports like gymnastics and wrestling, did better emotionally and mentally. Analyzing data from 11,235 kids between 9 and 13 years old, they found that compared to kids that did not participate in sports, those that were on teams had a lower incidence of attention issues, social problems, anxiety, depression and withdrawal. Kids that participated in individual sports had higher levels of those mental health challenges.

5 Top Tips to Finding Your Next Doctor

1 Keep an Open Mind! Healthcare has come a long way. Today, you have access to practitioners that branch outside of traditional medicine and aim to identify the root causes of conditions while using alternative treatments that may help you get the relief you need. Just because it’s not a pill, doesn’t make it pseudoscience.

2 Build Your Health Care Team. There is no one doctor that can be the be-all-end-all for your health needs. Be sure to have a team of practitioners with different “lenses” and areas of expertise who will treat the root cause and not just the symptom(s).

3   Environment Influences Healing. Health is multi-factorial. Your mental and emotional environment plays a pivotal role in your healing potential. Your doctors and their staff should create an office atmosphere filled with positivity so you can get the most out of your care.

4 Your Story Matters.  Before you begin any treatment, be sure to have a comprehensive consultation to discuss your health concerns. Find practitioners who welcome questions and will take the time to listen and treat you with respect.

5 Report of Findings. When it comes to our health, we often make decisions without understanding the risk versus benefits. Knowledge is an important part of the healing process and is essential to make conscious, informed health decisions. Find practitioners who take the time to explain their exam findings and the recommendations for treatment in ways that make sense to you.

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