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Parkour – Discover the Activity That Has Gained Popularity Among Young People

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Over the past couple of years, parkour has become one of the most popular sports amongst young people in the world. On top of this, it is also one of the fastest-growing activities, meaning that more and more people are taking it up as a form of physical exercise.

If you have never heard of parkour and have no idea what it entails, you have come to the right place. 

In this article, we will be discussing exactly what this sport is all about, including how it was developed, why it has become so popular, and a few key benefits.  

Parkour - Discover the Activity That Has Gained Popularity Among Young People
Image Source: Britannica

What Is Parkour?

Parkour experts define this sport as being a discipline of movement. It involves running, jumping, crawling, and climbing in order to traverse obstacles.

Parkour - Discover the Activity That Has Gained Popularity Among Young People
Image Source: Britannica

These obstacles can be man-made or found in the natural environment. For example, many parkour artists practice their skills in wooded areas, while others prefer the city landscape. 

Skills Needed

This form of physical exercise requires plenty of skill, technique, strength, flexibility, and endurance. It includes aspects of different sports, including gymnastics, CrossFit, running, and climbing. 

For this reason, many parkour experts believe that this sport is one of the most difficult in the world, especially when performed at the highest level. 

How Did Parkour Come About?

Writers who base their work on parkour seem to believe that this sport dates back to the early years of World War 1.

Parkour - Discover the Activity That Has Gained Popularity Among Young People
Image Source: Red Bull

To be more specific, parkour initially included a set of fighting skills and moves that were developed by a man named Georges Hebert. 

Methods

These moves were called ‘la methode naturelle’ and involved training in running, swimming, climbing, jumping, balancing, and defending. 

More so, Georges made use of obstacles in order to teach these different skills. 

Further Parkour Development

This system was used by the French military up until the 1950s

Parkour - Discover the Activity That Has Gained Popularity Among Young People
Image Source: BSporty

After this, it was taught in various other defense institutions, such as the police force and firefighter training academies. 

Famous People

In fact, Raymond Belle was in training to become a firefighter when he learned this specific set of skills. 

He was widely known for his athleticism and agility, becoming world-class in his field and saving many lives

The Term ‘Parkour’

However, the term ‘parkour’ wasn’t used until Raymond began sharing his knowledge and skills with his son, David Belle. 

Parkour - Discover the Activity That Has Gained Popularity Among Young People
Image Source: Medium

Generally, David is accredited as the father of the sport. He began adding new moves, challenges, and steps to ‘la methode naturelle’. 

Popularity

He even started a group called Yamakasi and traveled the world performing for the public

After the sport reached other areas of the world, it began rapidly growing in popularity. 

Why Has Parkour Become So Popular Amongst Young People?

Even though parkour has been around for a few years, it has only recently been discovered by many people.

Parkour - Discover the Activity That Has Gained Popularity Among Young People
Image Source: The Guardian

With that being said, this particular sport is unlike any other – even though it includes aspects of various activities, it is unique in its own way. 

Simplicity

For this reason, and many others, parkour has become incredibly popular amongst young people. 

This sport is uncompetitive, meaning that there are no competitions for the athletes to part-take in. 

This attracts many people, as there is no pressure when it comes to learning new skills and tricks. More so, there is an element of simplicity when it comes to parkour.

The Influence of Films on Parkour

Unlike many other sports, athletes can practice their moves at any point and in any location. They also do not need to spend any money in order to train. 

Parkour - Discover the Activity That Has Gained Popularity Among Young People
Image Source: Egypt Independent

Parkour was popularized through various movie franchises, such as the James Bond series, Mission Impossible, and Freerunner. 

Development

When impressionable children watch their favorite actors and actresses performing amazing tricks and skills, it makes them want to do the same thing. 

This played a massive role in the development of parkour.  

Parkour During the Pandemic

Strangely enough, parkour has become even more popular since the end of lockdown.

Parkour - Discover the Activity That Has Gained Popularity Among Young People
Image Source: CNN International

After being stuck in their homes for weeks, many people felt the need to release energy while simultaneously saving money. They were looking for an activity that doesn’t involve large crowds

Increased Popularity

For this reason, parkour was the sport of choice for many. John Hall, a parkour coach, has seen a massive increase in his number of clients over the last few months. 

From coaching just over 50 athletes before lockdown, Hall now has over 150 clients. More so, this includes a wide range of ages, as he has also seen an increase in popularity amongst adults

Parkour Moves

Parkour - Discover the Activity That Has Gained Popularity Among Young People
Image Source: Canon South Africa

As we mentioned, parkour involves plenty of technical moves.

Technicality

It can sometimes take years in order for an athlete to perfect a certain move – this is especially true for more difficult skills. 

Below are some of the most popular parkour moves that can be learned.

The Parkour Roll

The parkour roll is one of the most basic skills that a parkour artist can learn. In fact, if you were ever to attend a parkour class, this would most likely be the first move taught to you.

Parkour - Discover the Activity That Has Gained Popularity Among Young People
Image Source: The Conversation

In general, the roll is used to move between two points rapidly. The athlete will start in a low squatting position and reach their arms diagonally to the one side of their body. 

Steps

From there, they will push off their feet and propel themselves off of the ground. Rolling across their back, they will follow a line from one shoulder to the opposite hip. 

During this movement, one foot should be tucked into the body, while the other is partially extended in order to support their weight when they come out of the roll. 

The Cat Leap

The cat leap is another move that all parkour artists should aim to learn at some point. This common technique is used to propel the athletes from a low point to a high point.

Parkour - Discover the Activity That Has Gained Popularity Among Young People
Image Source: The Guardian

For example, they will use the cat leap if they are trying to jump from the base of a wall to the top.  

Speed Is Important

In order to execute the cat leap, the parkour artist has to run towards the obstacle with speed. 

When they are roughly a meter away from the base of the obstacle, they would enter a squatting position and leap towards the top of the obstacle with as much force as possible. 

The Dash Vault

The dash vault is another basic move that all parkour artists will need to know. This simple skill can be used to clear short obstacles, such as steps or small walls.

Parkour - Discover the Activity That Has Gained Popularity Among Young People
Image Source: YouTube

It is also relatively easy to learn and can drastically increase your run time. To execute the dash vault, the athlete will need to run towards the obstacle at speed

Space Is Needed

When they are a meter or so away from the base of the obstacle, they will need to extend the legs in front of them in order to clear the object. 

To gain stability, they use their arms to push off of the obstacle when passing over it. 

Benefits of Doing Parkour

There are plenty of benefits when it comes to learning parkour that we will be covering below.

Parkour - Discover the Activity That Has Gained Popularity Among Young People
Image Source: Extreme Sports X

Not only is this sport a great way to exercise without spending money, but it also provides you with a full-body workout. 

More so, it will improve your cardiovascular endurance and bone strength

Unlike other sports that only exercise certain parts of the body, parkour will train and strengthen everything. 

You Will Receive a Full Body Workout

When running, jumping, and climbing, every muscle in the body is activated. For this reason, you will gain definition everywhere after just a few months of practicing this sport. 

Parkour - Discover the Activity That Has Gained Popularity Among Young People
Image Source: Extremepedia

Since parkour involves plenty of sprinting, it will also work wonders for improving your cardiovascular endurance

Effects Over Time

After your first few sessions, you will notice a very high heart rate and heavy breathing. 

However, with more practice, your endurance will slowly be improved, and each session will become easier as your fitness increases

Increased Bone Strength

One issue that many people struggle with when training is injuries.

Parkour - Discover the Activity That Has Gained Popularity Among Young People
Image Source: Repertory Dance Theatre 

While it is almost impossible to avoid injuries completely, there are a few things that you can do, such as increasing your bone strength, in order to prevent them as much as possible.

Parkour is a high-impact sport, meaning that it puts plenty of pressure on the joints and bones. 

After practicing for a few months, your body will eventually grow accustomed to this pressure, decreasing the risk of injury. 

Promotes Quick Thinking

In order to be a successful parkour artist, you will need very good quick-thinking skills.

Parkour - Discover the Activity That Has Gained Popularity Among Young People
Image Source: Lappset

Since this sport revolves around completing an obstacle course in as little time as possible, it requires plenty of speed. 

Speed, Speed, Speed!

For this reason, the athletes move through the course at an extremely fast rate, encountering various obstacles as they go. 

To clear the obstacles, they will need to settle on a skill and execute it. This promotes quick-thinking, a skill that can be used in all aspects of life

Summary

Parkour is an uncompetitive sport that involves running, jumping, and climbing over various obstacles. This sport can be practiced just about anywhere, making it incredibly popular. 

In fact, it has become one of the fastest-growing urban sports in the world for a number of reasons, as we covered above.

Find Out Who Are the Greatest Fencing Athletes

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If you are interested in fencing as a sport, you most probably want to know who the greatest fencing athletes are. To determine this is not as easy as it seems. There are three disciplines: foil, saber, and epee, and each have its own rankings. 

Our list of the current top 10 fencers globally is based on how many gold medals the fencer has won. The list doesn’t differentiate between the disciplines. We have also only taken the 10 highest ranked fencers in each discipline in the most updated lists of the International Fencing Federation in consideration. 

Thus, athletes like Edoardo Mangiarotti, who has been one of the greatest Olympic Games fencers ever with his 39 Olympic and World Championship titles between 1936 and 1960, are not on our list. The list reflects the current greatest fencing athletes.

  • Gu Bon-Gil – 13 Wins
  • Lee Kiefer – 14 Wins
  • Elisa Di Francisca – 19 Wins
  • Ana Maria Popescu – 20 Wins
  • Sofya Velikaya – 20 Wins
  • Aroanna Errigo – 21 Wins
  • Inna Deriglazova – 25 Wins
  • Andrea Cassara  – 31 Wins
  • Mariel Zagunis  – 34 Wins
  • Olga Kharlan  – 40 Wins
Find Out Who Are the Greatest Fencing Athletes
Image Source: Bustle

10. Gu Bon-Gil – 13 Wins

This 31-year old athlete from Korea is, with his 13 wins, number 10 on our list. He participates in the saber discipline and ranks number 9 in this discipline on the International Fencing Federation’s (FIE) list. He has already won 7 gold medals at the World Cup and 6 at Zone Championships.

Find Out Who Are the Greatest Fencing Athletes
Image Source: The Korea Herald

Gu Bon-Gil started with fencing in 2002 in Daegu in Korea while he was in middle school. The fencing coach at the school encouraged him to take up the sport. They needed him for the school’s saber team as they were short of members.  Currently, he is part of the Korea Sports Promotion Foundation.

His coaches are Kim Du-Hong on a club and national level and Cho Jong-Hyung on a national level. In 2019 he received the Cheongryong Medal, which is the highest order of sports merit in the Republic of Korea. In 2020 he was inducted into the FIE’s Hall of Fame.

9. Lee Kiefer – 14 Wins

Our number 9 on the list is the 26-year old American Lee Kiefer with her 14 wins. She participates in the foil discipline and ranks number 5 in this discipline on the FIE’s list.  She already has won 3 gold medals at the World Cup, 2 at Grand Prix tournaments, and 9 at Zone Championships.

Find Out Who Are the Greatest Fencing Athletes
Image Source: NBC News

She began fencing at age five. After her father had not participated in the sport for years, she saw him fencing in a local tournament when she was five. She was interested, and her father started to teach her the basics.

In 2017 she became the first USA female foil fencer to be ranked number one by FIE. Currently, she is part of the Team Bluegrass Fencers Club in Lexington, USA. Her coaches are Amgad Khazbak on a club and personal level and Buckie Leach on a national level.

8. Elisa Di Francisca – 19 Wins

The 38-year old Italian, Elisa Di Francisca, is our number 8 with her 19 wins. As foil discipline fencer, she ranks number 3 on FIE’s list. She has already won 1 gold at the Olympic Games, 8 at the World Cup, 1 at the World Championships, 4 at Grand Prix tournaments, and 5 at Zone Championships.

Find Out Who Are the Greatest Fencing Athletes
Image Source: iNews

She grew up in Jesi, Italy. There is a long tradition of fencing in Jesi, and she started at the age of seven. She also took dance classes for a couple of years but left that to concentrate on fencing.

She has decided not to participate in the 2020 Olympics, but with the change of dates due to the Corna-19 pandemic, she could perhaps look at her options again.

7. Ana Maria Popescu – 20 Wins

This 38-year old fencer from Romania is with her 20 wins number 7 on our list. She participates in the epee discipline and ranks number 1 in this discipline on the FIE list.  She has won 10 gold medals at the World Cup, 8 at Grand Prix tournaments, and 2 at Zone and other championships.

Find Out Who Are the Greatest Fencing Athletes
Image Source: Transilvania Reporter

Her parents wanted her to take up a sport, and she initially played tennis. But after she had gone with her brother to his club’s fencing hall, she changed from tennis to fencing in 1996. After only 6 months of training, she became the national champion in her age group.

Currently, she is part of Team CSA Steaua Bucuresti: Romania. In 2016 she was rewarded the Sports Merit Order Class 1 by the government of Romania.

6. Sofya Velikaya – 20 Wins

Sofya Velikaya, the 35-year old Russian fencer, is our number 6 with her 20 wins. As a saber discipline fencer, she ranks number 2 on FIE’s list. She has won 7 World Cup gold medals, 2 at the World Championships, 7 at Grand Prix tournaments, and 4 at Zone Championships.

Find Out Who Are the Greatest Fencing Athletes
Image Source: The Sports Examiner

She began fencing at age 14 in Almaty, Kazakhstan. She followed her brother, who had already been involved in fencing. Although it was a little bit late to start fencing at 14, she did very well after about two years of training.

She is currently part of the Central Sports Army Club in Russia, and her coach is Dmitry Glotov. In 2015 she was named Female Athlete of the Year in the Russian Federation, and she received the Order of Honor from the president of the Russian Federation.

5. Aroanna Errigo – 21 Wins

With her 21 wins, the 32-years old Italian athlete Aroanna Errigo earns her 5th place on our list. As foil fencer, she ranks number 4 on the FIE list. Her gold medals include 10 at World Cups, 2 at World Championships, 2 at Grand Prix tournaments, and 2 at Zone Championships.

Find Out Who Are the Greatest Fencing Athletes
Image Source: Listal

At the age of six, her mother took her to a fencing club in Monza, Italy, and she fell immediately in love with the sport. In 2012 she received the Golden Necklace of Sports Merit in Italy.

After the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, she started to compete in the saber discipline. She has this dream to compete in the two disciplines at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

4. Inna Deriglazova – 25 Wins

Our number 4 on our list is another Russian athlete, Inna Deriglazova. She is 30- years of age and participates in the foil discipline. Her 25 Gold Medals include 1 Olympic medal, 13 World Cup medals, 3 World Championship gold medals, 6 Grand Prix titles, and 2 Zone Championship wins.

Find Out Who Are the Greatest Fencing Athletes
Image Source: Teller Report

When she was eight years old, a fencing coach came to her school and recommended fencing as a sport. She went for training out of curiosity as she wanted to be trained in rhythmic gymnastics. But she fell in love with fencing and started serious training in Kurchatov at the age of ten.

She is currently part of the Central Sports Army Club in Russia. Her trainers are  Ildar Mavlyutov and Lidia Safiullina. In recognition of her gold medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, she was rewarded with the Order of Friendship and the Medal for Military Prowess (first grade) in the Russian Federation. 

3. Andrea Cassara  – 31 Wins

With his 31 wins, Andrea Cassara is one of only two male fencers who’ve been included in our list. This 37-year old Italian athlete is ranked number 4 on FIE’s foil-discipline list. He has won 17 World Cup, 1 World Championship, 2 Zone Championship, and 11 Grand Prix gold medals.

Find Out Who Are the Greatest Fencing Athletes
Image Source: Toyko 2020

He started with fencing at age five as it was the nearest sports club to his home. Currently, he is part of CS Carabinieri: Italy. Interestingly, he incorporates boxing into his training schedule to enhance his fencing skills.

He received the Collare d’Oro from the Italian Olympic Committee in 2003, 2015, 2017, and 2018. In 2004 he was also named Commander of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic.

2. Mariel Zagunis  – 34 Wins

The runner-up on our list is the 36-year old USA athlete, Mariel Zagunis. She has won 34 gold medals.  She won gold medals at 2 Olympics, 16 World Cups, 2 World Championships, 7 Grand Prix tournaments, and 7 Zone and other tournaments. She is ranked number 9 on the FIE list for the saber discipline.

Find Out Who Are the Greatest Fencing Athletes
Image Source: Bleacher Report

Her brother was a fencer, and she always tagged along to see him participate. At age ten, she decided she also wanted to be a fencer and started training in the saber discipline. Currently, she is with the Oregon Fencing Alliance: Portland, OR, USA.

She has received many awards and honors, and in 2013 she was inducted into the FIE Hall of Fame. In 2010 she was named Athlete of the Decade by the University of Notre Dame in the USA. She also won the US Fencing Athlete of the Year award in 2010.

1. Olga Kharlan  – 40 Wins

Olga Kharlan, the 30-year old Ukrainian fencer, earned her place as our top fencer with her 40 wins.  She is also ranked number 1 in the saber discipline by the FIE. She has won gold at 13 World Cups, 4 World Championships, 16 Grand Prix tournaments and 7 Zone Championships, and other tournaments.

As a child, she was doing dancing, but it became too expensive for her parents. Her godfather encouraged her to switch to fencing. She started with fencing at age ten in Mykolayiv, Ukraine. Currently, she is part of the Central Sports Club of the Armed Forces: Ukraine. She has three coaches, namely Yury Marchenko, Andrea Terenzio, and Oleh Shturbabin.

At the Ukrainian Heroes of the Sports Awards in 2009, 2014, 2016, and 2017 she was named Female Athlete of the Year. In 2020 she received the title of Honored Master of Sport in Ukraine.

Find Out Who Are the Greatest Fencing Athletes
Image Source: The Olympic Channel

Conclusion

When you look at the list of the current 10 top fencers globally, it becomes clear that it is a sport where you have to start at a very young age to really get to the top after 10 to 20 years. Interestingly, only 2 male fencers are on our list.

The Great Benefits of Swimming – Understand How This Sport Helps with Well-Being

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Swimming is a fantastic sport for people of all ages and all abilities. With the cooling and weightlessness effect of the water, exercising can be coming, enjoyable, and still have a powerful effect on making changes to your body for the better.

With the effects of exercise on the brain and mood, and the rhythmic strokes or peaceful floating, swimming is comprised of well-being for both mind and body.

In this article, we’re going to learn more about swimming as a sport and as leisure, the kinds of people who can benefit from it (hint: everyone!), how it impacts your brain, and how you can use it to reach your weight loss goals. 

  • Swimming as a Sport
  • Swimming as a Leisure Activity
  • Your Brain While Swimming
  • Exercise Benefits
  • Lengthen Your Lifespan
  • Swimming is For Everyone
The Great Benefits of Swimming - Understand How This Sport Helps with Well-Being
Image Source: Simpli Faster

Swimming as a Sport

Swimming is a popular sport that involves one’s entire body in water and moving through it with different types of arm and leg movements called ‘strokes.’ 

The Great Benefits of Swimming - Understand How This Sport Helps with Well-Being
Image Source: Wikipedia

People are most familiar with the sport through watching competitive swimming, where swimmers race for a certain length. It is a very popular sport worldwide and is performed in numerous international competitions such as the Olympic Games.

To swim, skills and techniques are honed to achieve regular speed and agility when swimming in competitions. It might look like a short race, but it does involve a lot of effort and skill in professional swimming.

The Challenge of Competitive Swimming

Swimming involves exercising the entire body. It is easy for anyone to learn how to swim, but it will take practice and commitment to become a good swimmer. 

It is a highly competitive sport where you have to use and maintain a great burst of speed generated from your arms and feet. 

Water is about 900 times denser than air, so the resistance allows for greater strength-building and conditioning.

Swimming as a Leisure Activity

Swimming is one of the most common leisure activities and can be enjoyed alone or within a group. Whether you’re at your local pool, your own pool, or at the beach or lake, the positive effects of moving around in the water can be felt with little effort.

The Great Benefits of Swimming - Understand How This Sport Helps with Well-Being
Image Source: Lifehack

Enjoying swimming as a leisure activity is much different than competitive swimming. There is no race against the clock and it is not necessary to rapidly execute your strokes to swim a distance as fast as you can. 

Leisure swimming can be calming, at your own pace, rhythmic, and soothing, with nothing but the sounds underwater or your thoughts to keep you company. 

The feeling of gliding through the water, floating at the surface, and the cool water on your skin, can be incredibly therapeutic. Not to mention the endorphins from the exercise, you will feel excellent in body and mind after a swim.

Health Benefits of Swimming

This water-based exercise comes with a lot of benefits for swimmers, be it as a sport, a leisure activity, or as a form of exercise. 

Being submerged in water means having an environment that has reduced weight-bearing stress and lesser heat load, which means there are lots of important benefits that can be derived from it.

Good for all age groups, it has proven to enhance performance in kids and helps the elderly stay mentally agile.

Swimming and Brain Health

A truly important benefit derived from swimming is how it boosts brain health. Studies have shown that just being in water increases the blood flow to the brain. 

The Great Benefits of Swimming - Understand How This Sport Helps with Well-Being
Image Source: Briddles

Researchers experimented by immersing participants into chest-level water and measuring the flow of blood to the brain and compared it to when the subjects were outside the water.

The findings showed more blood flow in the brain while in the water, indicating a strong, positive impact on brain health while swimming as healthy blood flow to the brain is important for supplying it with nutrients as well as oxygen and glucose.

And because swimming helps the brain so much, it, in turn, helps the whole body itself.

Mental Benefits of Swimming

Swimming releases feel-good hormones, endorphins, which make one happy and increases positivity. Not saying that all swimmers are optimists, but by swimming, these bodily functions happen even without you knowing it is making you happy or feel good.

As a leisure activity, it is also a good way to relieve stress. It has a way of preserving your mental health by soothing the nerves, reducing anxiety, and relaxing the body. 

With the endorphin hormones released, it makes you calmer. After a hectic week, swimming is recommended to help you relax and revitalizes you for another week ahead.

Exercise Benefits

Swimming is an ideal form of exercise as with the movement of the body, your heart pumps clean, fresh blood faster. Regular exercise is important, and if you are unable to participate in more strenuous exercises, swimming is an excellent choice.

The Great Benefits of Swimming - Understand How This Sport Helps with Well-Being
Image Source: Possible

Healthy blood flow protects the brain from other harmful toxins. It aids the functioning of the brain which directly leads to good cognition, proper bodily functions and systems, and all the central nervous system processes that are essential for our survival. 

There are so many benefits that come from swimming. It builds aerobic endurance, increases muscle strength, tones muscles, and strengthens your lungs and breathing capacity. 

It also helps to improve aspects of yourself that will benefit you in everyday life as well, such as correcting posture, flexibility, coordination, and balance. This is also what helps benefit elderly people, for whom being weak in any of these areas could be fatal.

Swimming for Weight Loss 

What to shake off that extra weight? Swimming not only makes you relaxed and replenished, as a form of exercise, but it also burns excess fat from the body. It is a safer, easier form of weight loss and works out to be substituted for weight-loss drugs, and strenuous workouts.

Even a slow or moderate pace of swimming can amount to a substantial number of calories burned. Because swimming is a full-body sport, calories are burned more quickly and easily.

Also, because of the stress-busting benefits of swimming, weight loss is easier. Many studies have shown that the stress hormone cortisol is an inhibiting factor in weight-loss. So using swimming to manage your stress will also help you to shed extra weight.

Swimming is For Anyone

Swimming is a commonly recommended form of exercise for demographics who generally need more mild forms of exercise. It can also protect the body from potential diseases and the effects of infectious germs.

The Great Benefits of Swimming - Understand How This Sport Helps with Well-Being
Image Source: Asda

Groups like the elderly, pregnant women, and people suffering from long-term illness can use it to keep their bodily functions in shape, without having to exert themselves too much. 

Swimming to Help With MS

It is that important that swimming can be used as a low-end therapeutic agent. It is used for some injuries and conditions as a good form of water therapy. 

A good example is Multiple Sclerosis, which people with this condition have found water therapy, in particular, swimming to be a good form of therapy and a way to keep fit.

Lifespan Longevity

With the aforementioned health benefits, there are several ways swimming can help extend your life span. Inactiveness is a great cause of ill health, and people who do no exercise at all are more prone to a shorter lifespan than those who do any form of exercise each day.

The Great Benefits of Swimming - Understand How This Sport Helps with Well-Being
Image Source: Sports Ireland

Diseases such as diabetes and heart failure are common effects of inactivity and lack of exercise.

But because of the high rate obtaining during swimming, the risks of death by heart disease and stroke are greatly reduced. In fact, in another study carried out on 80,000 people, swimmers had a 24% lower risk of early death and 41% lower risk of death caused by heart diseases and stroke.

Add 10 Years to Your Life

According to a study out of Northwestern University in Chicago, adding swimming to a healthy lifestyle can add as much as 10 years to your lifespan.

Heart disease researcher Jeremiah Stamler, M.D., of Northwestern says the death rate from heart disease is 80% lower in swimmers who eat well and don’t smoke. These were his findings from the above study conducted on mostly middle-aged people, meaning it’s never too late to start and see the effects!

When it comes to swimming, Stamler says, less is more. Keeping up a consistent routine is more important than striving to be better or faster. 

Conclusion

Have you considered swimming as a regular activity yet? What is stopping you? It offers lots of benefits for children, adults, and the elderly alike. It does not discriminate against gender, color, culture, and gives the same benefits to everyone.

As well as the calming effect it gives, swimming also has other tremendous health benefits that we detailed in this article. Hopefully, you learned more about how swimming can enhance your well-being.

Children in Sports – Learn About the Most Famous Child Sports Prodigies

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According to philosophers of the past, the future lies in the hands of children. While many young kids find themselves preoccupied with their friends, school work, and video games, others are lucky enough to say that they have already found their passion in life. 

Finding children who are able to compete against the best in the world at their respective sports is no easy task. Most athletes take years and years to develop their skill set, meaning that they only reach their peak later on in their lives. However, there are a few extremely talented young individuals out there who have already begun showing signs of greatness

  • Ariel Hsing
  • Jaylin Fleming
  • Jashaun Agosto
  • David Sills
  • Keith O’Dell
  • Jack Robinson
  • Dakota Simms
  • Tom Schaar
  • Oliver Wahlstrom
  • Mike Lander
Children in Sports - Learn About the Most Famous Child Sports Prodigies
Image Source: Nicole Green / Unsplash

Ariel Hsing

Table tennis requires quick thinking, rapid reflexes, and hand-eye coordination. Recently, Ariel Hsing, a 16-year-old American child prodigy, has captured the attention of table tennis enthusiasts. 

Children in Sports - Learn About the Most Famous Child Sports Prodigies
Image Source: Oregon Live

This teenager has so much potential that even the greatest players in the world are wary of her insanely good skills. 

After becoming the youngest U.S. champion ever, Hsing quickly realized that she had the talent to set her sights on the Olympic Games.

Going to The Olympics

In the 2012 London Olympics, the star was knocked out in the round of 32. However, the player who knocked her out went on to win the gold medal. 

Ariel is hoping to improve her result in the upcoming rescheduled 2020 Olympic Games, and it’s safe to say that nobody doubts her ability to do so. 

Jaylin Fleming

Jaylin Fleming has been called ‘the next Derrick Rose’ for a good portion of his career. This seventh-grade genius has immense talent when it comes to the sport of basketball.

Children in Sports - Learn About the Most Famous Child Sports Prodigies
Image Source: Los Angeles Times

 In fact, for the past couple of years, many basketball enthusiasts have predicted that the youngster will eventually go on to become the best in the world. 

The young star currently plays for the Scotland Campus basketball team, which is an impressive feat for such a young player.

Athlete Life Meets Student Life

He is juggling the life of an athlete-student but says that he wishes to pursue a full-time career in basketball as soon as he completes his education. 

With the natural talent found in this kid, we have no doubt that he will one day be able to play for any club he chooses. More so, we see a few awards and accolades in his future. 

Jashaun Agosto

Jasaun Agosto is another extremely talented basketball player who has his sights set on being the best in the world – and many believe he has the skills to do it!

Children in Sports - Learn About the Most Famous Child Sports Prodigies
Image Source: Long Island University Athletics

From a very young age, Agosto began showing signs of greatness and caught the attention of many basketball enthusiasts. 

With insane dribbling abilities and a flair for the dramatic, some even believed that he would go on to become the next Allen Iverson. Thousands of young basketball players all over the world watched Agosto in awe.

What’s His Secret?

When asked what the secret to his success was, the humble player claimed that it was all down to the amount of practice that he put into the game. 

Jashaun is a natural talent and an extremely hard-working player, making him a great role model for young athletes all over the world. 

David Sills

From very early on in his young life, David Sills showed signs of the talent that some kids can only dream of. In fact, at the ripe age of just 13, he was signing a letter of intent for USC. 

Children in Sports - Learn About the Most Famous Child Sports Prodigies
Image Source: Bleacher Report 

Sills became the youngest ever player to accept a college scholarship and continues to make bounds in the direction of footballing success.

During his first year at college, the young talent managed to complete 66% of his passes for 28 touchdowns. 

Talented Guidance

More so, NFL superstar Steve Clarkson recently took him under his wing to train and guide his skills to the next level.

For this reason, many football enthusiasts believe that Sills will one day become the biggest football player in the game. 

Keith O’Dell

Keith O’Dell is one of the most talented pool players ever to grace the earth. What makes his story even more remarkable is the fact that he is only five years old!

Children in Sports - Learn About the Most Famous Child Sports Prodigies
Image Source: @THNKR / YouTube

Many have predicted that the young star will one day be unbeatable in his sport. In fact, he has even drawn comparisons to Paul Newman in The Hustler. 

Interestingly, both Keith’s father and grandfather were massive pool fans. For this reason, some of the youngsters’ fans claim that his talent is genetic. 

Bottled Potential

Either way, there is no denying the fact that he has some serious potential to become even better with age.

Don’t be surprised if you end up seeing a third-grader at the pool world championships one day. 

Jack Robinson

Jack Robinson was born in Western Australia and has been tearing up the surfing scene for the past couple of years. 

Children in Sports - Learn About the Most Famous Child Sports Prodigies
Image Source: The Inertia

With his tanned skin, winning smile, and curly locks, Robinson both looks and plays the part to become the next big thing in the world of water sports.

Although surfing is a popular sport in Australia, what really impresses most people is how old this guy was when he made a name for himself.

Making the Cover

At the incredibly young age of just 14, the athlete managed to land the cover of TransWorld SURF, arguably the biggest surfing magazine in the world. 

After this, many professional surfers began monitoring the progress of the youngster. 

Dakota Simms

Dakota Simms is yet another incredibly talented basketball player who has the potential to become the best in the world. The young phenomenon is also known for his intense willpower and maturity.

Children in Sports - Learn About the Most Famous Child Sports Prodigies
Image Source: The Things

For this reason, many enthusiasts believe that he will eventually become the Cristiano Ronaldo of basketball. 

Unlike many young talents who are flooded with fame and money before they achieve anything, Simms has spent much of his childhood practicing his passion in the gym. 

Hoops Per Day

In fact, it is said that the young star shoots anywhere from 300 to 500 hoops a day with his mentor and former Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins. 

We have no doubt in our mind that Dakota’s hard work will one day pay off – after all, hard work is the ultimate key to success in the world of sport. 

Tom Schaar

Tom Schaar has everything needed to become one of the greatest skateboarding stars ever. At just 12, this phenomenon was winning competitions and claiming titles that professionals could only dream about.

Children in Sports - Learn About the Most Famous Child Sports Prodigies
Image Source: X Games

Even prominent skateboarding names and legends like Tony Hawk and Ryan Sheckler have admitted that Schaar is a unique talent that has great potential to be the best.

Tom became the youngest ever skateboarder to win the gold medal at the X Games. On top of this, the youngster managed to become the first-ever to land the holy grail of boarding tricks.

Tricks and Moves

 In complete style and with ease, Schaar completed moves that some professionals cannot even attempt. For this reason, many predicted that he would become the greatest in the world. 

Now, at the age of 21, the skateboarder is still going strong and adding accolades to his ever-growing list. 

Oliver Wahlstrom 

When it comes to ice hockey, there is no child prodigy more famous than Oliver Wahlstrom. Born into the sport, the youngster began showing signs of greatness from very early on.

Children in Sports - Learn About the Most Famous Child Sports Prodigies
Image Source: Lighthouse Hockey

In fact, at the ripe age of 11, enthusiasts had already begun predicting a bright future for the young star. And they were certainly right!

During one match, in particular, Wahlstrom caught the attention of clubs and professionals all over the world. 

Watch This Space

The Swedish star lit up the TD Garden with a masterpiece of a shot that left the keeper dizzy. From this moment on, Oliver was under the watchful eye of many recruitment agencies. 

At the age of 13, he committed himself to play for the University of Maine. And in 2019, he made his NHL debut. 

Mike Landers

Mike Landers is often referred to as the greatest table tennis prodigy in the world.

Children in Sports - Learn About the Most Famous Child Sports Prodigies
Image Source: Grantlanders

In fact, from extremely early on in his sporting career, the young star was facing and beating some of the best players out there, including 26-year-old Samson Dubina. 

Young Title

Landers became the youngest ever player to win the U.S. National Singles Championship. He is known for his bruising forehand and incredible agility. 

For this reason, even the greatest players in the world fear ‘The Kid’. 

Summary

There are a few extremely talented sports prodigies in the world. These children have displayed immense talent in their respective sports, sometimes even beating the best in the world. 

Breathing Exercises to Do Before Any Physical Activity – Understand the Benefits

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Whether you are interested in learning breathing exercises to do before physical activity or to reduce your anxiety and stress, we have some of the best options for you. You may be looking for some exercises that are more appealing than what you have previously found, or you might be looking for some that you haven’t tried before. 

Either way, there is something for everyone. It is important that you check with your doctor before trying any of the above practices. Ensure that you do not have any respiratory issues, as this could influence the outcome of the breathing exercises. If you feel any discomfort, discontinue the practice immediately, until you can get further medical advice. Check out the following exercises:

  • Benefits of Breathing Exercises
  • How to Do Breathing Exercises Everyday
  • Diaphragmatic Breathing
  • Pursed Lips Breathing
  • Breath Focus Technique
  • Deep Breathing
  • Alternate Nostril Breathing
  • Lion’s Breath
  • Sitali Breath
  • Humming Bee Breath
  • Resonant or Coherent Breathing
Breathing Exercises to Do Before Any Physical Activity - Understand the Benefits
Image Source: The Human Ecologist

Benefits of Breathing Exercises

There are many upsides to doing breathing exercises. These include things like reducing your stress levels, lowering your blood pressure and heart rate, and reducing depression.

Breathing Exercises to Do Before Any Physical Activity - Understand the Benefits
Image Source: Dr. Weil

Breathing exercises can also reduce chronic pain, improve blood glucose levels, regulate your body’s reaction to fatigue, and improve your lung capacity and function. 

These are all important for physical performance, as proper breathing is vital to oxygenating your body when exercising.

How to Do Breathing Exercises Every Day

Luckily, breathing exercises are not very time-consuming, but you need to set aside time every day to give them your attention.

Breathing Exercises to Do Before Any Physical Activity - Understand the Benefits
Image Source: The Indian Express

Start with doing 5 minutes per day, and increase this time as the exercises become easier to do. If you are struggling with 5 minutes, begin with just 2 minutes instead and build it up.

Do your breathing exercises multiple times throughout the day. Schedule these times or do them when you have the need to.

Diaphragmatic Breathing

Doing belly breathing exercises helps you properly use your diaphragm. These should be done 3 to 4 times per day for 5 to 8 minutes when rested and relaxed.

Breathing Exercises to Do Before Any Physical Activity - Understand the Benefits
Image Source: Medical News Today
  • Start by lying on your back with slightly bent knees and a pillow under your head.
  • Put one hand under your rib cage and the other on your upper chest.
  • Inhale slowly through your nose. Feel your stomach press against your hand.
  • Keep the hand on your chest as still as you can.
  • Purse your lips and exhale while tightening your stomach muscles.

You can put a book on your belly to add difficulty as you get stronger. You can do this exercise while sitting in a chair or on the floor once you have learned to do it lying down.

Pursed Lips Breathing

This breathing exercise is very simple and is used to slow down your breathing pace. This should be done 4 to 5 times per day, and is very helpful for lifting, bending, and climbing stairs.

Breathing Exercises to Do Before Any Physical Activity - Understand the Benefits
Image Source: Medical News Today
  • Start by relaxing your shoulders and neck.
  • Keep your mouth closed and slowly inhale for 2 seconds through your nose.
  • Purse or pucker your lips like you are going to whistle.
  • Slowly exhale through your pursed lips for 4 seconds.

This deliberate breathing exercise helps you correct your breathing pattern, which is useful for daily life as well as physical activities.

Breath Focus Technique

This exercise focuses on using imagery and focus words or phrases. You need to choose a word that relaxes you and makes you smile. This exercise should be done for 10 to 20 minutes per day.

Breathing Exercises to Do Before Any Physical Activity - Understand the Benefits
Image Source: Harvard Health
  • Lie down or sit in a comfortable area.
  • Focus on your breaths without altering how you breathe.
  • Alternate between deep and normal breaths, noticing the differences.
  • Notice how your shallow breaths feel different compared to the deep inhalations.
  • Breathe deeply for a couple of minutes.
  • Put a hand under your belly button and notice how your abdomen rises during each breath. Sigh loudly with every exhale.
  • Combine your deep breathing with your focus word and imagery to support calm and relaxation. For example – “inhale calm and peace, exhale stress and tension.”

Examples of words you can choose are relax, let go, calm, or peace. But any word that is calming for you can be used in this practice.

Deep Breathing

Deep breathing is a great exercise for relieving shortness of breath. It works by preventing air from getting trapped in the lungs and allowing more clean, fresh air from entering.

Breathing Exercises to Do Before Any Physical Activity - Understand the Benefits
Image Source: The New York Times
  • In a standing or sitting position, slightly draw your elbows back in order to allow expansion of the chest.
  • Take a deep breath through your nose.
  • Hold this breath for a few seconds.
  • Slowly exhale your breath through your nose.

This breathing technique is excellent for creating a sense of relaxation

Alternate Nostril Breathing

This breathing technique is a great exercise for relaxation, stress-relief, and meditation. Plus, alternate nostril breathing can also enhance cardiovascular function and lower your resting heart rate.

Breathing Exercises to Do Before Any Physical Activity - Understand the Benefits
Image Source: Healthy Zen
  • Start by finding a comfortable sitting position.
  • Lift up your right hand toward your nose. Press your first and middle fingers down toward your palm and leave your other fingers extended.
  • After releasing a breath of air, use your right thumb to gently block your right nostril. This will force you to take a breath through your left nostril.
  • Once you have done this, close your left nostril with your right pinky and ring fingers.
  • Release your thumb and breathe out through your right nostril.
  • Take a deep breath through your right nostril before closing it once again.
  • Release your fingers to open your left nostril and exhale through this side.
  • Repeat this process for about 5 minutes in order to get the most out of this breathing technique.

In order to get the most out of this breathing exercise, ensure that you do not eat for a few hours before starting. More so, avoid the practice if you’re bloated, unwell, or congested. 

Lion’s Breath

Lion’s breath is a commonly used breathing exercise that is known to reduce stress and built-up tension. This technique is especially good for relaxing the muscles of the chest and face and is often used as a part of yoga.

Breathing Exercises to Do Before Any Physical Activity - Understand the Benefits
Image Source: Yogapedia
  • Come into a comfortable seated position. You can sit back on your heels or cross your legs.
  • Start by pressing your palms against your knees with your fingers spread.
  • Take a deep breath through your nose and open your eyes as wide as possible.
  • Simultaneously open your mouth and stick out your tongue. If you can, try to curl your tongue to touch the tip of your chin. However, if you are unable to do this, simply stick it out as much as possible.
  • Make a “ha” sound as you exhale your breath. This will cause the muscles at the front of your throat to contract.
  • Focus your gaze on the space between your eyebrows.

Repeat this breathing pattern 2 to 3 times to feel its best benefits.

Equal Breathing

Equal breathing is a great technique for evening out your breaths. In other words, it can assist in making your breathing more smooth and steady

Breathing Exercises to Do Before Any Physical Activity - Understand the Benefits
Image Source: Verywell Fit
  • Start by finding a comfortable sitting position.
  • Inhale and exhale through your nose.
  • Count during each inhale and exhale to make sure that they are as even in duration as possible. You could also choose a word or short phrase to repeat during each inhale and exhale. Each breath should last between 3 to 5 counts.
  • Repeat this process for about 5 minutes.

You should find a breath length that is not too easy and not too difficult. More so, you do not want it to be too fast, as this will make it difficult to maintain throughout the practice.

Sitali Breath

This breathing technique can be used to lower your overall body temperature. More so, it is great for relaxing your mind, reducing stress, and easing built-up tension. 

Breathing Exercises to Do Before Any Physical Activity - Understand the Benefits
Image Source: Lotus Yoga Centre
  • Find a comfortable sitting position.
  • Start by sticking out your tongue and curling it so that the edges come together.
  • If you are unable to do this, you can also purse your lips.
  • Take a deep breath through your mouth.
  • Exhale the breath through your nose.

You need to repeat this process for about 5 minutes to experience the maximum benefits of it.

Humming Bee Breath

This breathing technique is unique in various ways. It is known to create a sense of instant relaxation, mostly due to the motion of the hands on the forehead.

Breathing Exercises to Do Before Any Physical Activity - Understand the Benefits
Image Source: Satya Live Yoga
  • Start by finding a comfortable sitting position.
  • In order to feel as comfortable as possible, relax the muscles in your face.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Allow your fingers to hover over the cartilage section that partially covers your ears.
  • Take a deep breath. As you exhale, gently press your fingers down in order to block your ears.
  • Make a humming sound while simultaneously keeping your mouth closed.
  • Continue making this sound for as long as you can.
  • Repeat this process for a few minutes.

Many people turn to this practice in order to relieve unwanted emotions, such as anger or frustration. It is important to note that this exercise does require you to make a humming bee sound. 

For this reason, make sure that you find a quiet space in which you won’t be bothered or won’t bother anybody else. 

Resonant or Coherent Breathing

Resonant breathing, also known as coherent breathing, is a great technique for lowering your heart rate and creating a sense of relaxation. This is done by inhaling a total of 5 times per minute. 

Breathing Exercises to Do Before Any Physical Activity - Understand the Benefits
Image Source: Study Finds
  • Inhale for a count of 5.
  • Exhale for a count of 5.
  • Continue this breathing pattern for at least 5 minutes.

Many people use this technique in order to reduce stress and anxiety. When used with Iyengar yoga, this type of breathing is even known to reduce symptoms of depression. 

Summary

In order to get the most out of these breathing exercises, be sure to fit them into your schedule multiple times a week

More so, experiment with different techniques to find one that works well for you. 

Should Children Try Sports? Check Out the Best to Get Started

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Many parents have a difficult time debating whether or not they should encourage their children to play sports. Even though they have an obvious physical benefit for anybody, they can sometimes be a little too intense for very young kids. 

With that being said, there are plenty of benefits that come with partaking in various sports. Below, we will be discussing a few activities that can positively influence your kid’s life. From improving their communication skills to developing their hand-eye coordination, our list of sports will be sure to teach your child a few valuable life lessons. 

In this article, we will be looking at the benefits of playing sports for children, reasons to get your child started playing sports, as well as suggestions for the best sports they can try first.

Should Children Try Sports? Check Out the Best to Get Started
Image Source: Mongoose Agency

Why Should Children Try Sports?

Even though certain sports, like weightlifting, are obviously not suitable for young children, there are plenty of benefits when it comes to encouraging physical activity.

Should Children Try Sports? Check Out the Best to Get Started
Image Source: Healthline

As with everyone, exercise will improve your child’s overall health, preventing the onset of obesity from a young age. 

Lowered Risks

Doing physical activities will also help reduce the risk of them developing other health conditions, such as diabetes. 

However, on top of this, there is a long list of other advantages that come with part-taking in sport from a young age. 

Advantages of Sports

Depending on the type of sport that your child enjoys, it is likely that they will develop a few important life skills while playing it. 

Should Children Try Sports? Check Out the Best to Get Started
Image Source: Australian Physiotherapy Association

For example, team sports are great for improving communication and collaboration skills. 

On top of this, various activities are perfect for improving hand-eye coordination, balance, aim, flexibility, etc. 

Encouragement

For these reasons, it is important that you encourage your child to part-take in various physical activities. 

Do not be forceful, but help them understand the benefits of these different sports. 

Football

By far, the most popular sport in the world is European football. With massive names like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi as ambassadors, millions of kids worldwide have taken an interest in this team game.

Should Children Try Sports? Check Out the Best to Get Started
Image Source: Press Publications

In fact, football is considered to be the best sport for children, as it involves plenty of exercise and teamwork. This popular sport encourages communication, collaboration, fairness, and discipline. 

On top of this, it is great for improving fitness while simultaneously not pushing young kids too hard. 

Upsides

Many children love football because of the tactical element – in other words, they enjoy skilling their opponents and showing off how good they are with their feet. 

Whether your kid loves or doesn’t know much about this sport, it is definitely something to consider. 

Swimming

Swimming is a very important life skill that children should start learning from a very young age. Having your kid develop this ability from early on will make life much less stressful for you and much more fun for them.

Should Children Try Sports? Check Out the Best to Get Started
Image Source: Kids Love To Swim

Being able to swim will enable them to part-take in various other interesting sports, like water polo. 

Swimming for a team is perfect for children who need to develop their communication and teamwork skills. It is also a great way to boost fitness and improve muscle growth. 

Extra Skills

On top of this, many parents send their children to swim classes because of the fact that it can teach breathing control. 

There is plenty of skill and technique required when it comes to this sport – for this reason, you should consider it when choosing a sport for your child. 

Cycling

All young kids love cycling and the thrill that it brings. There is nothing better than flying down the road with the wind in your hair and the scenery whipping past you. 

Should Children Try Sports? Check Out the Best to Get Started
Image Source: Lifehack

For this reason, encouraging your child to take up cycling may just be the best move possible, One of the most important things learned when cycling is road safety

By teaching your kid the dangers of the road from a young age, they are likely to remember how to stay safe for the rest of their lives. 

Advantages

This sport also encourages patience, discipline, and self-esteem

On top of this, the physical benefits of cycling are massive – your child will experience a rapid increase in fitness, endurance, balance, and reflexes. 

Basketball

Another extremely popular sport that your child may be interested in trying is basketball. This team sport develops plenty of important skills, such as hand-eye coordination, balance, and aim.

Should Children Try Sports? Check Out the Best to Get Started
Image Source: Champion Academy

More so, there are massive social advantages that come with basketball.

As basketball is a team sport, it will improve your kids’ communication and collaboration skills. 

Benefits

They will also learn about the importance of each, as their team will not succeed without fluent teamwork. 

This activity is also great for developing fitness, stamina, and reflexes. 

Cross Country Running

Most children love to run around. In fact, as parents, we often wonder where they store all that energy. Luckily, sports like cross country burn energy, and your child will develop a few important skills along the way. 

Should Children Try Sports? Check Out the Best to Get Started
Image Source: Daily Record

Cross country is a form of running where the athletes run across natural terrains, such as grass fields or dirt tracks. 

If you are looking for that social element, you could even encourage your kid to take part in a relay race or team event. 

Benefits

This activity has plenty of physical benefits – for example, it will drastically improve your child’s fitness, endurance, muscle strength, and lung power. 

On top of this, it can be incredibly fun and rewarding.

Track

Track is another great sport that has similar benefits as cross country. This form of running takes place on a tartan track (hence the name) and is not as technical as cross country. However, this does not make it any easier.

Should Children Try Sports? Check Out the Best to Get Started
Image Source: Run For Good

In fact, track events require plenty of stamina, fitness, and strength. If your child has plenty of energy to burn, you may want to consider entering them into a track team. 

There are plenty of events to choose from, such as the 100m sprint, 400m dash, or the 1500m long-distance run. 

Advantages

Whatever your kid decides to do, they are likely to benefit from a few advantages that come with this type of running. 

For example, this sport brings about focus and concentration. More so, running can work wonders for improving endurance, stamina, muscle strength, and cardiovascular fitness. 

Gymnastics

Gymnastics is one of the most popular Olympic sports out there. More so, it is quickly gaining popularity as a children’s sport. There are various reasons for this.

Should Children Try Sports? Check Out the Best to Get Started
Image Source: Time Out

gymnastics can drastically improve flexibility, muscle strength, and balance. It also has a great social aspect to it that attracts many young kids. 

This sport encourages children to be as flexible and as nimble-footed as possible. It also requires plenty of strength and endurance, meaning that most of your kids’ physical attributes are likely to improve. 

Upsides

Gymnastics can be quite daunting at first, as certain tricks and flips can seem impossible. 

However, the longer your child sticks to the sport, the more fearless and head-strong they will become. 

Tennis

Tennis has gained plenty of popularity amongst children over the past couple of years. Many young kids have a competitive spirit that they love to show off – if this sounds familiar, this sport may be worth looking into. 

Should Children Try Sports? Check Out the Best to Get Started
Image Source: Bayview Village Tennis Camp

There are plenty of physical benefits that come with tennis. The longer your kid plays the game, the more nimble-footed they will become. 

More so, this sport encourages quick thinking and develops hand-eye coordination. 

Benefits

On top of these advantages, the social aspect of the game also makes it perfect for young children. 

Tennis can be played as a team sport, meaning that it will improve your child’s communication and collaboration skills. 

Cheerleading

Contrary to popular belief, cheerleading is actually an extremely difficult sport. Even though young children are unlikely to do backflips or other dangerous tricks, they can still benefit from this sport in various other ways. 

Should Children Try Sports? Check Out the Best to Get Started
Image Source: Utah Fusion All-Stars

There is a great social aspect to cheerleading that will encourage communication and teamwork.

On top of this, the sport will improve their flexibility, balance, and agility.

Attributes

One of the most important attributes that your kid will need when cheerleading is a positive attitude. For this reason, this sport will promote enthusiasm.

If your kid has a natural sense of rhythm and plenty of energy to spare, this may be the perfect sport for them. 

Karate

Unfortunately, self-defense is extremely important in today’s world. If you want to teach your child to defend themselves from early on, there is no better sport than karate.

Should Children Try Sports? Check Out the Best to Get Started
Image Source: ATA Martial Arts

This form of exercise is incredibly fun and develops plenty of essential life skills. 

Karate helps to instill a sense of self-discipline, focus, and control

Upsides

On top of this, it also has a great social element that makes it much more fun for young children. 

Most classes involve repetitions of punches and throws, improving fitness, endurance, and muscle strength

Summary

It is very important that children are active from early on. There are various sports out there that each offer their own benefits and advantages

A few of the best physical activities for young children to try include karate, football, tennis, gymnastics, cross country, track, cycling, swimming, basketball, and cheerleading. 

Is Dancing a Sport? Learn About the Different Types of Dance

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At first, dancing was a recreational activity and pastime, but soon, people started to compete with each other to see who danced the best. Eventually, dancing competitions appeared all over the world, and before long, dancing became a very competitive sport in which you could win medals. Soon, it even became an Olympic sport.

There is a large number of dance types and categories, ranging from Latin American to Ballroom and even African American and Jazz dances. Let’s take a look at these different dance types that are now part of a popular sport that has people flocking to competitions.

  • Waltz
  • Tango
  • Cha-Cha-Cha
  • Samba
  • Swing
  • Flamenco
  • Polka
  • Country And Western Dances
  • Ballet
  • House dance
Is Dancing a Sport? Learn About the Different Types of Dance
Image Source: Scott Broome / Unsplash

Waltz

This dance was introduced in the 19th century and developed into the famous ballroom dance that is practiced by millions of people around the world both for sport and leisure.

Is Dancing a Sport? Learn About the Different Types of Dance
Image Source: Joy of Dance

Today, there are other similar Waltz dances that descended from the original English Slow Waltz, such as the famous Viennese Waltz. 

It is much faster at 180 beats per minute. This was also the first dance that introduced the concept of close dancing between two people. 

Variations

In the Special Olympics, the Slow English Waltz, as well as the faster Viennese Waltz, is recognized as a separate sport that forms part of the ballroom dancing category

If you look at this type of dancing, it definitely is a sport, and these competitors compete professionally at a very high level.

Tango

This dance originated in the Río de la Plata region in Argentina. It is the forerunner of many tango styles. Many nationalities contributed to this dance, but the meaning and origin of the word tango are unknown.

Is Dancing a Sport? Learn About the Different Types of Dance
Image Source: The Lux Traveler

From its humble origins at the outskirts of Buenos Aires, Argentina, in the 19th century, the Tango has become one of the most popular dances of all time. 

Today, it is part of the ballroom category of dances and has been seen at the Olympic games for many years, where dancers perform at very high levels. 

Variations

Even though there are many different variations of the Tango all around the world, the main forms are known as the Argentine and the Ballroom style. 

Where the Ballroom style is a bit slower, the Argentine style has more staccato and sharp movements.

Cha-Cha-Cha

The cha-cha-cha, or cha-cha, is a popular dance that has spread all over the world. It originated in Cuba in the early 1950s and was made popular by famous violinist and composer Enrique Jorrín.

Is Dancing a Sport? Learn About the Different Types of Dance
Image Source: Atomic Ballroom

This dance was developed when Jorrín found that many dancers could not cope with the syncopated rhythm of the danzon and mambo dances

He then developed a dance that would be more appealing to his music style and introduced it to the dancers at the gigs where he performed. 

Variations

The dancers incorporated a triple step into the movements of their feet which produced the cha-cha-cha sound, creating this new dance style. 

Today cha-cha is part of the World DanceSport Federation, in which performers compete at a very high level, and many people attend these events.

Samba

This dance originated from Brazil and the coastal regions of West Africa. This lively dance is considered the national dance style of Brazil and is danced by millions at Brazilian carnivals every year.

Is Dancing a Sport? Learn About the Different Types of Dance
Image Source: Balmir

The Samba dance style that is part of the World Dance Class Championships is not the same as the original style. 

The Ballroom dance that originated from Brazil is characterized by simple backward and forward steps that are accompanied by tilting and rocking movements of the body. 

Competitions

This dance style became very popular during the 1940s in Western Europe, as well as in the United States, where it is part of the ballroom dance category. 

Today, this dance from Brazil is a recognized dancesport that is performed all around the world in professional dance competitions.

Swing

Swing came from the Jazz Swing styles of the 1930s and 40s before becoming part of the Swing era. The most popular Swing dancing style is the Lindy hop that originated in Harlem in the 1930s. 

Is Dancing a Sport? Learn About the Different Types of Dance
Image Source: Everything About Dancesport

Most styles of Swing originated in African-American communities. While Swing originated from the Jazz dance styles that were already popular, it is a very popular dance style in its own right. 

It became very popular because it is a dance style that can be performed in just one spot even on a very crowded dance floor. 

Category

Swing is part of the traditional Jazz dances and Afro-American category. 

It also paved the way for a wide range of Swing dance styles that are performed around the world on a professional level.

Flamenco

This very energetic and expressive dance style is a Spanish dance form that was introduced in the 18th century. It is performed by just one person.

Is Dancing a Sport? Learn About the Different Types of Dance
Image Source: Hello Hollis

This dance is normally accompanied by a flamenco guitar player and comes with handclaps, percussive footwork and arm movements. Many new Flamenco dance styles are performed today.

One of these is the Flamenco Nuevo dance style. This is a new Flamenco dance style that was developed in the 1980s when the original Flamenco dance was fused with modern rock and blues. 

Levels

Flamenco dance also became part of the dancesport federation, and performers compete in professional competitions around the world, as well as at the Olympic level. 

Many people around the world are learning this dance style because of the exotic movements that remind them of the old Gypsies of Spain.

Polka

Polka is one of the most popular and influential dance styles in the western hemisphere. After World War II, the Polka dance style became very popular in the United States. 

Is Dancing a Sport? Learn About the Different Types of Dance
Image Source: Pattie Wells’ Dance Time

It originated from Poland and the Czech Republic. This dance style was limited to the peasant population of those countries that were not part of the royal courts of that time. 

Polka is part of the world dances category and is performed as a dancesport around the world at a professional level. 

High-Class Dancing

During the early 1800s, Polka became a very popular ballroom dance style in Prague and was soon part of the dances of the high-class dancers of Vienna. 

Polka came to the US with the soldiers who were part of the war and soon became a very popular dance style.

Country and Western Dances

This dance style includes various styles and forms danced to Country and Western music. Some popular Country and Western dances include different line dancing associated with American Country.

Is Dancing a Sport? Learn About the Different Types of Dance
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The Country Western Waltz dance style is very similar to the Ballroom Waltz dance style but has a more relaxed approach to it. 

Some of those who are doing professional Ballroom Waltz dancing see the Country Western Waltz dancing style as a sloppy type of dance. 

Style

Even though it may look like it is sloppy, the whole idea was a relaxed dance style instead of the stiff upper body type of ballroom dance style. 

Country and Western dance styles are very popular around the world and are performed by professional dancers in a variety of dancesport competitions.

Ballet

There is no question about the sports status of this dance style, which is performed on many different levels. Some people believe that Ballet should not be part of the Olympics.

Is Dancing a Sport? Learn About the Different Types of Dance
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Ballet is practiced as a dancesport by millions of people around the world. Of all performance dances, this is one of the most popular

It originated during the 15th century in Italy and was later introduced to such countries as France and Russia, where it became very popular very quickly. 

Influence

The Ballet dance style also had a large influence on many of the other popular dance styles around the world. 

Ballet dancers can be found at many levels of competitions in many different categories around the world at high levels of professionalism.

House Dance

This dance style became very popular in the US when it was born in clubs in New York City and Chicago. This was right after the popularity that Disco enjoyed among the youth in the 1960s.

Is Dancing a Sport? Learn About the Different Types of Dance
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House Dance is a mixture of movements that are borrowed from a variety of dance styles and incorporated into the House Dance style. 

It is a mixture of Jazz, Funk, R&B, Latin, Soul, and many other dance styles from around that time. 

Competitions

Even though the House dance style is not considered a sport, there is a wide range of dance-off competitions in this style. 

The House dance style is a social dance that quickly became popular around the world.

Summary

These are only a few of the many dance styles from around the world, and many of them are quite popular. 

Many of these dance styles are recognized as valid sport types and are incorporated with some of the worldwide dancesport federations and organizations.

Sport of the Mind – How to Play Chess in Simple Steps

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Ah, Chess. The game of legends, and arguably the best mind game the world has developed. This ‘sport of the mind’ has been known to burn a surprisingly high amount of calories.

Chess is a mental sport that has withstood its greatness for centuries and is still enjoyed today. How are the pieces moved and how can one devise strategies to outsmart your opponent with a ‘checkmate’? 

Everything about chess cannot be covered in a single article. You would need a book for that. So, this article covers the basics of the game of chess, as well as info on how to play the game.

Sport of the Mind - How to Play Chess in Simple Steps
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Chess as a Sport

Despite the accolades chess has gathered, some people still do not consider it a sport, because it does not involve strenuous physical movements, as the only movement is that of the hands while moving the pieces. 

Sport of the Mind - How to Play Chess in Simple Steps
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But you’d be surprised at how many calories can be burned in a single game. A grandmaster can burn 6,000 calories a day playing chess! 

That is way more than what is burned playing in other “physical” sports. It is a game of the mind and the brain where all activities of the body are processed.

Professional players even have to undergo fitness training for better performance. Jogging and other exercises are recommended for chess players. 

Competition

Have you watched a rapid game of chess before? How swiftly both players move their pieces while thinking strategically to defeat their opponent? 

Chess, like any other sport, involves players outsmarting their opponent to win at the end of a specified time. There may not be any other game that offers such intense rivalry among players.

Chess involves strategizing, but the outcome cannot be predicted. With one wrong move and at any moment, the game can switch direction, making the winning player lose. Players compete fiercely without touching each other, and all the action happens right on the board.

Global Recognition

Chess is recognized internationally as a sport in the Olympic games and several European competitions. Players from regions all over the world come together and compete in tournaments to declare a champion.

Sport of the Mind - How to Play Chess in Simple Steps
Image Source: Chess

As a globally recognized game, chess can be played by anyone irrespective of age, gender, background, or ethnicity. 

Everyone can play chess, so let’s move on to learning how!

About the Game

Chess is a game that involves two players moving pieces over a chessboard. The chessboard is a square consisting of 8 by 8 squares of alternating colors (usually black and white) where the pieces are placed in a defined order.

The aim of the game is to threaten your opponent’s king (what is called ‘check’) until the king is unable to move, or the opponent is unable to protect his king.

The difference in the arrangements of pieces is dependent on the color of the queen. Usually, there are two colors, white and black (though they can vary), and the queen is placed on the corresponding color of the square on the board.

The Pieces and Their Movements

There are six pieces in the game of chess. All have different movements and are in different numbers on the board. 

Sport of the Mind - How to Play Chess in Simple Steps
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The Pawn: Pawns are the lowest-ranked pieces in the game. The soldiers in a colony. There are eight pawns per side on every board. They are the protectors and are pretty useful for defense and attack. 

Although their movements are not fast, and their attack is quite slow, they do have few tricks up their sleeve. With a total of eight pawns per side, managing these pieces is crucial, and may provide the upper hand to winning a game.

Pawns can only move forward, and they attack by moving one space diagonally. The only difference is in their starting movements, which can be two steps forward or one step. They cannot go over a piece, so if another piece is directly in front of it, they cannot move unless the piece is moved or destroyed.

The Bishop

The bishops are the silent killers among the pieces. Snipers if you may. There are two bishops per side on a chessboard. Their movements are diagonal in any direction, so long as there are no pieces preventing the bishop from moving.

The Knight: Ah, the knight. Arguably the only piece that can contest with the queen in strength, the knight is a true keeper. They are the only piece on the board that can “jump” over another piece, and they can trap lots of other pieces at the same time. There are two knights per side in a game.

Their movements are a bit tricky to explain, but they are in an “L” form. Think of it as moving two spaces in any direction, and then one space to the right or left.

The Rook

A very powerful piece is the rook, also called a castle. Another wide aim piece, the rook moves in the horizontal and vertical directions. Movements can move through any number of squares if it is not being blocked by another piece. There are two rooks per side in a game.

Sport of the Mind - How to Play Chess in Simple Steps
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The King: The king is mentioned before the queen because although it is the center of the game (to win, the king must be defeated), the strength of this piece is not so great. Like a pawn, the king can only move one space, but unlike a pawn, he can move in any direction, not just forward. 

The Queen: The most powerful piece is the queen, as she has the greatest strength in the game. She is the boss and dominates the game when used properly. 

Like the rook and the bishop, the queen can move in continuous diagonal and straight lines in any direction. The restrictions also apply, as the queen cannot move over a player.

Special Movements

Castling: This strategy involves the only time during a game when two pieces can be moved in the same turn. This strategy is often employed during the opening in order to move the king into a more protected position while moving the rook into a more active position on the board.

All pieces between the rooks and the king must be moved out of the back row in order for castling to take place within the roles of chess.

Once cleared, the king can move two spaces toward either rook, and the rook it moved toward can move across to the space the king skipped over. Within the rules, this can only be accomplished if neither of the rooks nor the king have been moved from their starting places at the beginning of the match.

Promotion

If a player is able to maneuver his pawn to reach the opponent’s extreme row (the row where the officials are placed), the pawn can be promoted to any official of choice. 

Sport of the Mind - How to Play Chess in Simple Steps
Image Source: Chess

En passant: Another trick of the pawn, en passant happens when a pawn moves two steps as part of its optional starting move

If an opponent pawn would have captured the moving pawn had it moved one step, en passant can be called.

En passant’s movement therefore happens, and the opponent’s pawn moves to the space it would go to if the moving pawn had moved one step.

Setting-Up

A typical chessboard has 64 squares, with the horizontal rows numbered alphabetically, and the vertical columns numerically. Players face each other on the horizontal side of the board. The arrangement of the pieces comes in that order as well.

The officials (queen, king, rook, knight, and bishop) are positioned on the first row of opposite sides, while the eight pawns are positioned on the second row. The queen takes her color square in the center of the first row: the white queen on a white square and the black queen on a black square. 

Moving inwards, the two rooks (or castles) are positioned at the extreme ends, then the knights beside them, then the bishops. The king stays close to his strongest protector and partner, the queen. The pawns, occupy the second row immediately after the official’s line.

How to Play

In chess, the player with the white color starts first. Each side’s opening move can involve the pawn movement two spaces forward or one space forward. Starting movements can also involve the knights as they can ‘hop’ over pawns too.

Sport of the Mind - How to Play Chess in Simple Steps
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Playing the game becomes easy when the piece’s movements are mastered. By understanding how to move the pieces, anyone can play the game of chess. 

Knowing how to play is not all there is to it though, as you’ll soon find it’s important to strategize movements in order to checkmate their opponent.

Taking Down a Piece

Defeating a piece happens when an opponent is in the direction of your movement. The piece that takes another remains in the position of the defeated piece. 

For example, a bishop moves diagonally until it crosses the path of the opponent’s castle, ‘defeating’ it and removing it from the board, and setting the bishop where the castle was.

Strategizing involves moving each piece with caution, planning your movements all the way, while defending at the same time. It is more like a pull-push reaction, playing both offensively to take your opponent’s piece while playing defensively to protect your own. 

Conclusion

Chess is a wonderful game of the mind. It involves continuous practice, discipline, and strategy to excel as a chess player. 

In this article, we covered the game of chess as a sport, and how to play, to inspire you to experience the fun that is chess!

What Is the Relationship Between Surfing and Autistic Children? – Learn About It Here

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Through the years, medicine has begun looking for alternative, holistic ways to help people with disabilities and mental health struggles to find some relief from their symptoms. Doctors are prescribing exercise and walks in nature more and more as opposed to medical interventions.

A major breakthrough in the treatment and management of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in children is through surf therapy. Participating in the sport in a guided environment allows children with ASD to escape the challenges of the social world, and to focus on the sport itself. 

Studies are now showing the great impact surfing has on children with ASD, and how surf therapy camps are helping to bring this experience to children with autism and their families. Let’s learn more about why surfing helps children with ASD.

What Is the Relationship Between Surfing and Autistic Children? - Learn About It Here
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About Surfing

Surfing is a water sport where surfers use a board to ride along a wave of water which eventually leads the surfer to the beach shores. People prefer to surf in the ocean but these days lakes and rivers are equally preferred. 

What Is the Relationship Between Surfing and Autistic Children? - Learn About It Here
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There is a World Surfing League (WSL) and an International Surfing Association (ISA) that governs the sport and showcases the world’s best talent.

There are numerous physical and health benefits to surfing. Not only does it help strengthen cardiovascular fitness from swimming and paddling, but the posture and maneuvering help build powerful strength in the shoulders and back muscles. 

Similarly, the legs and entire core of the body get stronger due to the constant riding on the waves. However, these are not the only benefits that coming from surfing.

Mental Benefits

Riding on the waves can be soothing and zen-like in its relaxation. The combination of the exercise endorphins and the fresh air and excitement of catching waves are all mood-boosters that can have lasting effects throughout the day and week. 

Surfing can also provide people with a passion, a purpose, and an outlet for their times of struggle.

Studies are beginning to show that surfing helps people with autism and is considered very therapeutic in managing their symptoms and easing bouts of sensory overload. Doctors are now prescribing it as a form of treatment and symptom relief for children with ASD.

About Autism

Autism, or ASD, is a disorder that impairs the ability to communicate and socialize with others. The condition affects the nervous system and affects the overall cognitive, emotional, and physical health of the person. 

What Is the Relationship Between Surfing and Autistic Children? - Learn About It Here
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Autism Spectrum Disorder starts to show during childhood. As per a study by the World Health Organization, 1 out of every 160 children in the world suffers from autism. In fact, in the last decade, 17% of children aged 3-17 were diagnosed with a developmental disability. 

As per the CDC, ASD occurs in all races, ethnic backgrounds, and socio-economic segments of populations, but is four times more common in boys than in girls. There are those with ASD who can manage life on their own but many need constant care and supervision. 

People with ASD cannot be cured but can be treated and there can be a noticeable improvement in their lives as long as they are trained using psychosocial interventions, for example, behavioral treatment and skill training programs. 

ASD Facts

There is no current medical treatment available to prevent or cure the condition and the best solution is early intervention to regulate and improve the conditions through constant guided care. 

Given such a solution, people started looking for creative ways to help these kids, for example, via surfing programs. Lately, water sports like surfing have made an immense contribution to helping to manage the effects of this condition.

Participating in surfing offers complete inclusion and support by not subjecting them to stigma or discrimination.

How Surfing Helps

The parents of autistic kids are usually surprised to see how happy and cheerful their children are when they are surfing and playing with the waves. Of course, these children are accompanied by pro-surfers who are on their toes to take care of these kids in the water. 

What Is the Relationship Between Surfing and Autistic Children? - Learn About It Here
Image Source: The New York Times

It’s a wonderful sport that helps autistic kids feel more connected to their world in an environment away from the social chatter of the world.

The waves demand to pay attention, paddle, move, and keep up which makes kids focus more on the task at hand and this lets them forget other things altogether. 

A study shows that ASD kids like rhythm and repetition and they avoid “new” and “different” which works just fine with surfing. Also, the weightlessness of the water and the breeze add to a calming, happy experience.

Better Academic Performance

In terms of academic performance, ASD kids who partake in surfing as a sport are considered to perform better than those who do not indulge in this sport at all. 

With the daily ritual of visiting the ocean, relieving stress, and getting the much-needed positivity, these kids are succeeding in such a way that “Surfing Therapy” has now become a thing in the USA.

Surfing and Autism Skills

There are visible and practical benefits that autistic children get from surfing regularly.   

What Is the Relationship Between Surfing and Autistic Children? - Learn About It Here
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Also, the natural skill set of ASD kids is similar to the attributes of surfing, which means that these kids feel connected to their true selves even when at the sea. For example, surfing requires logical thinking ability and ASD kids are natural thinkers!

Surfing requires longer periods of concentration and focus at one go and contrary to what most people think, autistic kids have a better ability to stay focused when motivated. 

This is also one of the reasons that these kids respond better to a surfing session compared to other forms of therapy.

Regular Activity

Further, autistic children can more easily stick to routines and schedules, be punctual, adhere to rules, maintain order, and create alternate solutions. 

All these skill sets get good practice when these kids decide to jump onto the water and ride the waves. It is like an athlete going to a gymnasium for another daily workout!

Statistics Do the Talking

A study conducted by the University of Rhode Island in 2015 followed 16 students with disabilities (including autism) over an eight-week surfing period. The results below were the outcome of merely one hour of instructor-led sessions. twice a week, which lasted for eight weeks. 

What Is the Relationship Between Surfing and Autistic Children? - Learn About It Here
Image Source: WBUR

While findings showed an overall improvement in upper-body strength, core strength, and cardiovascular endurance, there was a sharp rise in the mental well-being, mindfulness, and motivation of the kids who participated in the research. 

There was a marked difference in their outlook and how they interacted with the instructors, their parents, and their usual close-knit network of a few people.

The success of these sessions has led the navy to do a study on surfing programs for the fitness of their cadets and the mental health of their members. Key benefits from surfing are agility and mindfulness which go a long way in improving mental health

ASD Surfing Institutions

There are many surfing camps that have popped up all over the United States. One of the camps that started in 1996 and are still helping ASD kids, is called Surfers Healing Camp. These people help autistic kids in building confidence and a sense of calm through surfing the waves. 

Another camp is called Surfers for Autism in Florida, which started in 2007 with a simple idea to reach out to autistic people and do something for them. They started with free sessions for anyone and everyone from the ASD community to experience surf therapy for themselves.

Getting Involved

If you have a child with ASD or know someone who has ASD, you can participate in community work to ensure that these people are adequately taken care of. 

What Is the Relationship Between Surfing and Autistic Children? - Learn About It Here
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There are plenty of institutions like the ones mentioned above that are accepting volunteers right now. Most community work in the surf-autism forums is done by these volunteers who help make the lives of ASD kids better.

Reach out through the social media handles, Facebook groups, and WhatsApp communities. Check within your neighborhood as well if you know someone who can use surfing to improve their vitality.

Finding Ways to Help

What is needed, as per the human rights bodies, is for us to take care of ASD kids, handle them with care and make sure that we are doing all that we can to improve their lives on an on-going basis. 

This is the only way they will open up and gain the confidence to deal with the challenges of the social environment.

Conclusion

Surfing is not a cure for autism but it is the way to go to bring marked changes in the lives of these kids, on an everyday basis. The relationship between the sport and the condition is so special that if taken advantage of, ASD kids can begin to excel in areas where they may currently struggle.