Everyone knows that the key to weight loss and weight-maintenance is consistency. It starts with education about healthy foods and behaviors. Then comes motivation to start and the third and final stage is discipline to stay the course. One of the reasons that some children are able to stay in shape and healthy is that they are active in sports. The key in childhood sports is the presence and influence of a coach. Practices are usually multiple times a week, for a set amount of time and improvement in skills, drills and other capabilities are measured and challenged. Once one graduates from school - or organized sports of some kind - the ability to maintain one's weight becomes a paramount problem. Coaches go away. Routine practices go away. Oversight and structure goes away. Add to that, the skills go away. Think about what happens with foreign languages that are given up after school requirements are met. They are rarely retained. The same goes for musical instruments that are not played after the requisite band rehearsals end. This can be true for team sports. Not only is it hard to pull together a band of 18 people to play baseball with - let alone football - the skills begin to drop off. That is why it is critical to teach children lifelong "chronic sports" that can be played well after retirement such as tennis, golf, running and swimming. Children do not have to make these sports their primary sports, but they should be exposed to them at a young age when their motor skills and overall athletic aptitudes are being developed. Sports such as running and tennis can be played in conjunction with other sports, very economically and without requiring a huge investment of time. Just like society promotes lifetime learning - so we must embrace lifetime athletics.
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