Sports are universal, and playing sports is a favorite activity and stress relief for many people around the world. It can provide us with enjoyment and may also freshen up our mind. However, playing sports is more than running, jumping, or kicking a ball on the field. Indulging in sports helps our body function smoothly and more efficiently.
Sports can help not only strengthens the body but also to connect and coordinate the neuromuscular connections between muscles to achieve full-body coordination. In addition to these physical benefits, the social interaction in sports combats depression, anxiety and helps create positive relationships, communities, and long term mental health in participants.
Health Benefits of Playing Sports
Let’s have a look at the benefits of playing sports in detail.
May Lower The Risk of Heart Attack
Research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology suggests that physical activity can help lower the risk of heart attacks. Playing sports may help with the stretching ability of the heart’s ventricles thereby allowing the heart to pump more blood with each beat. When the heart can pump more blood with each beat, your heart becomes more efficient and effective.
May Manage & Prevent Diabetes
May Aid in Weight Management
Obesity is a big issue faced by millions of people across the world. Over 55% of the adults in the US are obese, which is indirectly paving a way for chronic conditions. The American College of Sports Medicine says that this issue can be dealt with by indulging in sports or similar physical activities. In addition to this hunger was found to be suppressed by exercise in a study done by the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine. This study found that a hormone that induces hunger, ghrelin, might be lowered in participants who exercised.
May Lower Hypertension
Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, may result in a stroke or heart disease. The National Health Service, UK suggests that aside from diet management, sports and physical activities can be important to keep the blood pressure normal.
May Balance Cholesterol Levels
Playing sports can also help in maintaining lower cholesterol levels. A 2009 report revealed that a 90-minute soccer match decreased the triglyceride and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels of the twenty-two professional players who participated in the study.
May Improve Blood Circulation
Blood circulation can get better when you start playing sports. The body remains well oxygenated and thus, it may remain more healthy and active. Apart from blood circulation, being physically active can also increase the hemoglobin count and the volume of blood.
May Increase Immunity
Regularly indulging in exercise and sports can make the body immune to many diseases that usually affect a person due to weak immunity. When a person exercises, the rate at which white blood cells reach every body part may increase significantly. Playing sports could increase sweat production and might also remove toxins.
May Train and Tone Muscles
Sports could be the most integrative, fun, and the best form of workout for muscles. Strong, toned muscles are always desirable and that’s what you can get when you consistently play active sports such as soccer, tennis, jogging, racquetball, baseball, and kickball. Both the strength and endurance of muscles may also increase with time and consistency of engaging in sports.
May Make Your Bones Stronger
Playing sports may strengthen not only the muscles but also the bones in your body. Bones may get their strength from increasing bone density which happens as you continually ‘load’ the bones with high power and strength movements. For example, running while playing sports loads the bone with much more weight than simply walking. This can create an adaptation within the bone in response to the increased stress for the bone to grow denser to be able to withstand this increased loading in the future. When you consistently apply stress to the bone it might continue to strengthen and become denser.
Aging naturally can decrease bone density, which can result in osteoporosis if we do not have our bone density up in youth and middle age. Taking up sports can perhaps be one of the easiest ways to maintain bone density and strength for people of all ages.
May Help You Maintain a Positive Attitude
Sports can bring a positive attitude to your life if played healthily. It can refresh the mind and may help in developing a positive and fresh outlook on life. A 2018 special edition of the Journal of Sport and Health Science (JSHS) revealed that team sports can not just enhance positivity in individuals, but it can bring communities together and build them too.
May Help Boost Self-esteem
Playing any particular sport might help in building self-esteem. When one improves in any particular sport or skill, one may feel good about it.
May Help You Maintain Discipline
Discipline becomes a natural part of life when you start spending time playing sports. This is because sports can inspire people to live life by certain rules and regulations and move towards a positive end. Children who indulge in sports might feel healthier and can develop better and healthier relationships with other people because a positive, team-based outlook is instilled in them.
May Help Build Mutual Respect
Playing sports can build mutual respect for others as it includes playing opposite people but at the same time respecting them even if they have a negative attitude towards you.
May Increase a Sense of Calmness
Sports could train your mind to think calmly and find new strategies to deal with problems without getting too hyper.
May Encourage Teamwork
Playing sports might help you build good relationships with people from diverse backgrounds and traits. It encourages teamwork and thus helps in preparing you to work with different people harmoniously.
May Aid in Bettering Goal-Setting Skills
Goal setting means that every person needs to have an idea about what he/she wants, whether it is in a game or life. Sports may help in goal-setting and will improve performance levels in other areas of life.
- Play under Expert Supervision: Try playing sports under the supervision of experienced players in the beginning and take their advice on how to play the game without getting hurt.
- Do Warm-up Exercises: These exercises help increase the elasticity of muscles, which prevents muscle injuries, cramps, and sprains.
- Stay Hydrated: Athletes of all ages should begin their activities in a well-hydrated state to avoid a dip in performance as well as dehydration-related health conditions.
- Acclimation in Hot and Humid Conditions: If you plan to play sports in the heat for longer than an hour and a half, it is a good idea to add a sports drink. Take breaks and drink plenty of fluids.
- Avoid Playing on Rainy or Stormy Days: It is best to not play during severe weather conditions such as lightning.
Concussions: Make sure children wear helmets if cycling. If you have suffered a head injury, it is advisable to visit the doctor.
- Cool-down Exercises: It is important to do gentle stretches and rest after playing any sport. The heart rate normalizes and the muscles relax.
- Start small if you are a Senior Citizen: Older people should start with small sessions because the body tends to lose its muscle capacity with age. It is best to consult with a doctor and a trained expert before starting a new exercise regimen.
- Obesity and exercise: Obese people should indulge in sports in a controlled manner as they are more susceptible to sports injuries.
Make Sports a Part of Your Lifestyle
Playing sports should not be limited to the field of your school, college, or community. Even when you’re at home or working, sparing at least 30 minutes for any sport you love can be very helpful.
It is not advisable to only see sports as a strenuous activity that you are doing for the sake of health. Instead, take it as a hobby and enjoy it. Encourage your family members to be a part of your sport too. This will give a boost to the overall health of the family.
Activities such as cycling, swimming, running, and even walking are some of the physical activities that can be done daily. It must not be forgotten that playing sports alone will not give you a healthy body and mind. Many other factors such as nutritional intake, the stress levels in your life, or even the clothes or shoes that you’re wearing must also be considered.