The Benefits Of Sports
Sports (or sportsmanship) is any form of generally competitive physical activity that, through organised or casual engagement, attempt to employ, improve or maintain physical skill and/or ability while offering physical entertainment to participants, and sometimes, spectators, who take part in said competitions. Some sports are organised and governed by governing bodies such as the I.V.C.A., which governs numerous high-level international sports; the I.C.C.A. also governs numerous recreational activities, including many popular sports such as American football and soccer. However, sports can also be “un organised”, whereby people engage in simple yet rewarding activities that promote health and well-being, such as hiking, snorkelling, rock climbing, kayaking, surfing, skiing, hang gliding, curling up on a sofa, playing a sport such as basketball or football, running, jogging, horse riding, tennis, cricket, rugby, and boxing. There are countless other ways to enjoy the benefits of sports, whether played professionally or casually.
Amongst adults, participation in structured sports is seen as both a competitive and recreational activity; for example, playing tennis in an organised tennis tournament, or attending an intensive boxing training session. Those taking part in sports whilst also working or studying are recognising the valuable role sports play in both their professional and personal lives. As well as providing mental stimulation and physical work, sports allow us to socialise, build confidence, set goals and meet friends or families. Sports also allow us to escape the pressures of life, allowing us to create a sense of belonging and emotional stability, often leading to participation in more structured sport in the future.
One type of sport which has gained popularity recently is autotelic sports, such as weightlifting and running. Autotelic sport involves using the body’s own muscles to exercise; therefore the participants gain muscle mass, burn calories, build strength and generally improve their overall physical fitness. Many professional sportsmen and women follow a specific training regime, incorporating autotelic principles into their daily workouts to maximise their potential and avoid injury. Although the initial expense can be high for professional athletes, they are well worth the investment as the long term health benefits are clearly evident. Some of the main benefits of autotelic sport are increased muscle mass, reduced body fat, increased bone density, enhanced cardiovascular fitness, and enhanced neuromuscular function.