Sports: An Indispensable Part Of The Indian Education System

Sports teach certain values and morals which no book or curriculum in the world can ever teach.

If you fail to prepare, you’re prepared to fail.” – Mark Spitz. While reverberating this statement, what I believe is that ‘preparing’ for what lies ahead is as essential as living the present. It is only because India was prepared to manoeuvre the unforeseen, that the nation successfully survived the sudden attack of COVID-19. Therefore, in preparing to adapt and adopt the ‘new normal’, people must leverage the capabilities and strength offered by every sphere, including sports! Sports has always contributed crucially in consolidating the national strength, adding radiance to the country’s prestige while simultaneously imbuing a sense of national dignity, pride and undying mettle in the citizens.

Sports and children – an inherent bond

In the fast evolving, competitive world of today, children need a respite from being in the ‘rat-race’- sports comes to their rescue. However, sports activities are not simply a form of entertainment, they are beneficial for the growth and development of children and youth, who are the posterity of the nation. Thus, to help them grow with good physical and mental health is imperative and an easily attainable feat through active participation in sports. Alongside, sports teach certain values and morals which no book or curriculum in the world can ever teach.

In evaluating the effect of COVID-19 on youth mental health, the adverse effects of the pandemic have been uncovered. Therefore, it has become more important than ever, to develop effective psychological interventions for youth groups. Sports, known to be therapeutic, need to be incorporated into the educational level and occupational training of the youth and children. Interestingly, various scientific researches have opined that children associated with sports tend to develop a larger hippocampus, a brain structure contributing in developing a strong learning capacity and good memory – both being essential aspects for students! Hence, sports are significantly important for students in terms of their academic endeavours as well.

Physical benefits of being associated with sports

The WHO in the ‘British Journal of Sports Medicine’ has clearly stated that the health harms associated with prolonged sitting can diminish by weekly, recommended physical activities. Extensive sedentary time leads to serious ill health and diseases such as diabetes, obesity, weak bones and high blood pressure levels, which can prove fatal as well! Hence, being associated with sports, especially from the early stages of life will help in increasing muscle strength, bone density, flexibility, and stability, making people less prone to accidental injuries in future, particularly in their ripe age. A Report from the United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on Sport for Development and Peace states that young people can benefit from Sports and physical activities as it contributes significantly in developing healthy bones, efficient heart and lung function as well as improved motor skills and cognitive function. Sports such as cricket, football, tennis, basketball and many such tend to stimulate body muscles, which in turn develop and strengthen in response to these stimulations. Human bones too benefit largely if one actively participates in sports, as doing so increases the calcium content, density and thereby the strength of bones.

Psychological benefits of being associated with sports

The WHO has estimated that “one in four patients visiting a health service has at least one mental, neurological or behavioural disorder, but most of these disorders are neither diagnosed nor treated”.

Lately, just like adults, children too had been at a risk of experiencing stress, especially under the prevailing, unnatural circumstances. Stress, if mismanaged could blow out of proportion and result in mental health issues such as anxiety disorders leading to depression. Again, conveniently, an easy solution for these problems too is sports! It is noteworthy that when actively engaged in some kind of outdoor sport, neurotransmitters such as endorphins and dopamine are released in the human body, which have a positive effect on one’s mind and mood. So, when children are associated with sports, they are effectively managing their stress level on their own without putting in any deliberate or conscious effort towards doing so.

Furthermore, it is rightly believed that what can be learnt in a playground cannot be learnt in a classroom! Sports are often deemed as peoples’ life skills coach. Teamwork, unity, patience, persistence and discipline are some values one learns through practical, ‘on-the-field’ experiences. These are values which people need throughout their lives, both, on the personal as well as professional front.

Therefore, all said, the imperativeness of sports seen as an indispensable part of the Indian Education System cannot be overlooked. Helping the future generation to become better human beings, more compassionate and determined individuals is indeed everyone’s sacred duty – it is a step which would aid the overall development of the society and the nation.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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