Playing soccer and lacrosse for my high school was easily one of the best decisions I have ever made. Through these sports, I gained lifetime friends, developed leadership skills, and learned how to work well with others. Not to mention, playing sports was also a great way to stay in shape and get involved with my high school. In addition to these short term benefits, playing high school sports has shown to provide several long term benefits as well.
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I read a New York Times article that talks about a study that correlates high school athletes earning higher salaries later on in life. This is so because high school athletes tend to do better in school and thus, go to more competitive colleges. I always received higher grades during my sports seasons rather than in the off-seasons because I would manage my time better and release pent up energy during a game or practice which allowed me to focus on school work. Researchers found that physical movement creates several changes in the brain including, increased cerebral capillary growth, blood flow, oxygenation, the production of neurotrophins , and much more (TrueSport). These changes improved attention, information processing, storage, and retrieval. It can also aid with creativity, memory, and problem solving abilities. These enhancements make high school athletes much better students in the classroom. Upon going to more competitive colleges, they end up receiving jobs with higher pay out of school. High school athletes tend to possess higher confidence, self- respect, and leadership than those who did not partake in high school sports and businesses recognize that.
Another study shows that playing sports in high school can also lead to long term health and fitness. Researchers found that elderly men who played varsity sports as teenagers go to the doctor fewer times per year than men who didn’t. The Huffington Post describes that by playing high school sports, you are predicted to be more physically fit and have fewer doctors visits 50 years down the line (Huffington Post). Studies show that participating in sports improves life expectancy, coronary health, as well as cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness (Livestrong). As we get older our metabolism slows down however, participating in high school sports has shown to increase metabolic rates and get rid of excess body fat.
There are several short term and long term benefits to participating in varsity high school sports. High school student athletes do better in school and thus receive higher paying jobs, and they also have improved long term health and wellness. If you didn’t have a reason to regret not playing a sport in high school, now you do!