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When people participate in group activities, they work up much more than their heart rate and a good sweat. With the rising epidemic of mental health issues, especially among children and youth, researchers are digging into ways that sports can help protect and strengthen the mind. Increasing evidence links physical activity with a lower risk of developing mental illnesses. Sports can impart remarkable psychological benefits that last a lifetime. These intense yet enjoyable opportunities help build self-esteem and grit while cultivating important soft skills.

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1. Sense of Belonging

Team sports introduce participants to a built-in community of people with the same passion, loyalty, and goals. Young athletes have access to higher levels of social support from teammates and coaches, often forming an extended family where they can find and provide acknowledgment, encouragement, and accountability, key factors in building psychological well-being.

boys basketball team and coach monkeybusinessimages / Getty Images
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