Benefits

> Strong muscles, bones, and connective tissue during the years of growth and maturation.

>- Reduced risk of injury from play and/or sports.

> The development of exercise skills, which can lead to the pursuit of a healthful lifestyle.

> Strength that can be used to enhance performance in other sports.

> The development of self-confidence and self-esteem. Considering that the teen years can be torturously awkward, this cannot be overemphasized.

> The ability to maintain proper bodyweight.

> The opportunity to learn from and interact with adults other than teachers and parents in a relaxed environment.

Perhaps the biggest reason to encourage teens to participate in organized sports as well as in solo athletic activities like strength training is it bodes well for their future. By establishing a pattern of activity in their formative years, teens are able to develop good habits that they can carry through to adulthood. As we've said often in this book, establishing an active lifestyle has significant impact like staving off heart disease, obesity, diabetes, lower back pain, and a myriad of other ailments that often accompany a sedentary lifestyle.

Always pay close attention to whether or not your child is enjoying their activity. Certainly don't force them just because it's what you want. This would probably have the opposite effect and push them farther and farther away from something that can be extremely beneficial to them later in life.

Of course, one of the reasons why many parents don't encourage or allow their teens to participate in organized sports is a concern over safety. With good reason. The National Youth Sports Safety Foundation (NYSSF), a nonprofit, educational organization whose mission is the reduction of injuries young people sustain in sports and fitness activities, provides the following facts:

Always pay close attention to whether or not your child is enjoying their activity. Certainly don't force them just because it's what you want. This would probably have the opposite effect and push them farther and farther away from something that can be extremely beneficial to them later in life.

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