6 Ways Teens Can Benefit From Extracurricular Involvement

Individuals involved in clubs during their teen years may live longer than their peers.

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From history to English to phys ed, there's no denying the importance of what teens learn in school. But not all learning takes place in the confines of a classroom. In fact, it's the activities kids do in their free time that can often shape their futures—in more ways than one. According to new research from the University of Edinburgh, individuals who are involved in school clubs during their teen years have longer life spans.

This study suggests that being involved in extracurriculars throughout life adds to a person's overall health and longevity. Extracurriculars can range from school clubs to sports to volunteering. Any club that increases a person's sociability counts.

In case a longer life isn't enough of an incentive, here are five more reasons to inspire teens to join a club!

Who Teens Surround Themselves With Matters

A study found that teens who surround themselves with high-achieving friends are more likely to be successful themselves. Whether that's their fellow newspaper editors or teammates on the lacrosse field, camaraderie matters more than you may think.

Too Much Screentime Damages Their Health

Sure, staying inside, scrolling through Instagram may sound more appealing than being social, but too much screentime can negatively impact a teen's bone health. Plus, Facebook can cause feelings of depression. Why not get out and get social? Studies found that school sports can boost a teen's mental health and reduce stress.

Time Management Skills Are Valuable

Teens who are involved in a bunch of activities can become masters in time management. After all, they're juggling school work with their extracurriculars and their social lives.

Clubs Can Be Good Practice For Future Careers...

As illustrated in Choices story about "Dream Jobs," many now-successful individuals actually prepped for future jobs way back in high school—simply by being involved in activities they loved. It's a great way for teens to explore their interests and figure out what they want to do down the road.

... And Inspire Teens To Pursue Their Passions

By being involved in his local Boys & Girls Club, 14-year-old Gerron was able to make a documentary and speak up against violence. He found support for this project through peers and leaders at his club.

While these are all benefits of getting involved, teens should be cautious of any downsides, like hazing—which doesn't happen all the time, but it does happen. Also, keep an eye out for our upcoming story all about cliques and popularity this fall! It's a real eye-opener.