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Thursday, 14 December 2017 | MYT 6:00 AM

Sports is good for children, but not all are good for kindergarten kids

Sports has many hidden benefits for children. Photo: Leo Rivas-Micoud

Many parents sign their children up for sports when they are as young as three years old, and there are many options available even for kindergarten-age kids. That is a good thing in principle, says Katja Schmitt, a professor at the Sports Science Institute in Berlin’s Humboldt University, Germany.

Exercise not only builds the child’s muscles, but it also develops coordination and motor skills, Schmitt says. Social skills also play an important role in sports, particularly team disciplines such as football or handball. “Studies have also proven that sport boosts children’s ability to concentrate,” the expert says.

In a nutshell, sports is good for young children too, particularly when it is played in groups. Competition does not play a major role in kindergarten sports, says Ilona E. Gerling, a sports teacher at the German Sport University in Cologne.

For her, however, not all sports are good for kindergarten-age kids. “At this age, children should mainly try out disciplines that involve natural and playful body movements,” she notes.

If children start too early with sports that train only a certain muscle group, they can damage their bones. For this reason, it is important for them to get a full body workout.

Children’s gymnastics is good for kids who are just starting out at sports. Nicole Gressner of the Berlin Gym And Recreational Sports Association, teaches such an activity and recommends it. “Gymnastics simply provides a very good foundation for all other sports,” she explains. – dpa

Social skills also play an important role in sports.