An estimated 45 million kids in the U.S. participate in youth sports every year, and they’re starting younger than ever. Gymnastics classes are available for kids still in diapers and the SoccerTots® franchise caters to kids as young as 18 months.
National Youth Sports Week this July 20 – 24 is designed to draw attention to the rewards of participation for kids of all ages. And now a new study suggests another benefit: sports may actually make kids think faster. The study in the Journal of American College of Sports found that athletes appeared to have a faster processing speed than non-athletes, likely due to regularly making split-second evaluations and decisions.
A New York Times piece on the study notes that it’s possible that the athletes always had advanced processing abilities and that’s what made them better athletes, rather than the athletics turning them into faster thinkers. Either way, the study shows that better athletes have faster processing speed.