Virtuous circle of physical activity, leadership and empathy

We often hear of approaches to best prepare kids for life. Showing them love and affection, keeping their mind active by talking and reading to them, supporting their interests, whatever they may be.

Another approach is having them be active, whether in formal sports organizations or better yet, just with their friends playing outside. That informal nature of activity has been lost to some degree and that is sad. Playing pickup basketball, soccer, anything for that matter was such a fun part of my life and that of millions of others. Turns out that more than just being fun, such activity may have prepared us to be better and more empathetic leaders.

PsychCentral had an article covering recent research that points out that kids who are active when they are younger are likely to exhibit better leadership skills and be more empathetic. Maybe even better, they set themselves up to better appreciate the value of healthy living when they get older, thereby keeping this virtual circle of physical activity, leadership and empathy alive. And a good place to see this happen? School, of course.

According to Elizabeth Jackson, MD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine, division of cardiovascular medicine, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, MI and a co-investigator on the study:

“It seems that physical activity through team sports and exercise classes may have benefits beyond physical fitness. These findings suggest that children who develop leadership and empathy toward others are more likely to care about their own health, perhaps adopting life-long healthy behaviors that can prevent heart disease.”

“Health behaviors are tied to other behaviors, so we can consider schools an excellent place to help children start caring for themselves and others.”

To read the full article by Rick Nauert, Ph.D at PsychCentral, please click here.

P.S. You may also be interested in the following article at PsychCentral.

- Sports Can Improve Brain Function
- Social Activity Helps Maintains Physical Dexterity As We AgePhysical
- Activity Improves Mood of People with Mental Illness