These days, teenagers have extremely stressful lives. High school is a high-pressure environment with both academic and social stressors that can negatively impact kids’ lives and stress levels. As most people know, exercise can be a great way to reduce stress and improve well-being. But when competitive sports are added on to kids’ school schedules, is it removing stress, or adding to it?
The Stress Teens are Under
As adults, it can be hard to see why teens are so stressed. They don’t usually have bills to pay or jobs to worry about. Sill, 27% of teens report experiencing extreme stress during the school year, and 31% felt overwhelmed because of stress. For many of these teens, that stress also contributed to depression. Academic pressure from teachers, parents, advisors, and the need to get good grades for college admissions can be too much for many students. In one study, teens were shown to be even more stressed than adults during the school year, with stress levels of 5.8 out of 10 as compared to 5.1 for adults.
Do Sports Help stress levels?
Teens aren’t exercising enough, many because they are busy with schoolwork and other obligations. Exercise can reduce stress, but only if it’s approached in the right way. The pressure to perform well on a sports team can actually make teens more stressed out, with 20% of soccer players reporting high levels of stress before and even after games. It’s important to keep exercise and sports fun and low-pressure for teens so they don’t burn out or become even more stressed.
For a more in-depth look on how athletics can help (or harm) student stress levels, check out this infographic from Ohio University’s Master of Athletic Administration program.