Taking part in sport can help us feel fitter, healthier and mentally strong, and that is just the start of it. Sport can also be fun, especially when played as part of a team or with family or friends.
As we have seen through our Club Game Changers campaign, sport can also develop great leaders and be an opportunity for individuals to shine, whether it is playing for a local grassroots club or at an international level.
For most people, taking part in sport will improve your general health and wellbeing. There are plenty of reasons why you should become involved in sport with reduced body fat, bone strengthening, improved stamina and flexibility being some of the reasons why you should take up a sport.
Specialists keep stressing the fact that sport directly improves our health. It influences our mental health, in addition to many other positive impacts it has on the human body. Physical exercise not only maintains the body shape, but also plays a major role in prevention against diseases, memory loss, cholesterol or diabetes. We are nowadays accustomed to a sedentary lifestyle which has harmful effects on health. Therefore, it is essential that we, current and future generations, continue to give priority to doing sports as it keeps us healthy.
Sport protects against cardiovascular disease
Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death. By remaining inactive, the risk of developing one is multiplied by two. Training the cardiovascular system through physical activity can protect and strengthen the heart for the long term. It helps reduce the risk of clotting and to rule out the risk of a heart attack by avoiding high blood pressure.
In addition to this protective role, physical exercise is also recommended for people already suffering from cardiovascular disease, as long as it is adapted to their physical condition. Some tests must be performed beforehand by the doctor, who can then recommend exercises adapted to the patient’s medical conditions.
Improve Mental HealthThe Public Health Agency report that regular participation in sport and being active can also promote good mental health. This includes improving your mood, enhancing your sense of well-being, reducing anxiety, combating negative emotions and protecting against depression.
Reduces StressWhen you are physically active your mind gets a chance to unplug from daily stresses and strains of life. Physical exercise reduces the stress hormones in your body and stimulates the release of endorphins. These endorphins may give you more energy and focus for whatever life has.
Increased ConfidenceBy training frequently and working towards seasonal goals you can build your confidence and abilities. This is especially noticeable through tournaments and matches where you and your team put your skills to the test. Small, incremental achievements throughout the year can build personal confidence over time, giving you the ability to take on new projects and assignments at work with your new-found confidence.
Improved Lung FunctionRegular sport causes more oxygen to be drawn into the body with carbon monoxide and waste gases expelled. This increases the lung capacity during sport, improving lung function and efficiency.
New ConnectionsSport brings together a mixture of people from different communities, backgrounds, religions and beliefs. Sport can offer a new way to meet others that you may not interact with day to day. As a result, you can make new friends. And who knows, playing a sport might even open new career and business opportunities for you.
A Strong HeartYour heart is a muscle and needs frequent exercise to help it keep fit and healthy. A healthy heart can pump blood efficiently around your body. Your heart will improve in performance when it is regularly challenged with exercise. Stronger hearts can improve overall health of the body.
Better SleepFast Company suggests that exercise and sport triggers chemicals in the brain that can make you feel happier and relaxed. Team sports provide a chance to unwind and take part in an activity that improves your fitness. If you play sports outside, you can benefit from fresh air which is said to promote a good night’s sleep.
Sport prevents cognitive decline
Memory, sleep, stress: physical activity also has a distinctly positive influence on cognition, thanks to better oxygenation of the brain and muscles. Indeed, the more muscles are used to exercise, the less energy they will need to perform their work in the long term.
Another confirmed hypothesis is that sport brings joy and satisfaction to people: it reduces anxiety and depression, it provides as well a feeling of well-being to the individual.
Sport prevents cancer and metabolic diseases
Even in good health, sport allows a person to prevent the risks associated with cancer, especially breast cancer for women, reducing the risk by 40%, and prostate cancer for men, reducing the risk by 50%.
Metabolic diseases such as diabetes or cholesterol, which are signs of deficiencies or disturbances in the body, can also be combated or regulated with sport. Daily exercise from 30 minutes to 1 hour a day would be enough to avoid a metabolic syndrome. This is a minimum to be followed, keeping up a sustained activity would be even more effective.
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Sport Builds LeadersAll sport teams need leaders to show the way and help develop new or younger team members. An emergentics study has found a correlation between playing sports and strong leadership qualities. Sports enable people to develop a ‘team mindset’ whether its winning, losing or training together.
Develop Stronger RelationshipsSports enables you to build better relationships with people you may be aware of, but not know personally. Through frequent sport you can get to know a lot about an individual’s personality, their strengths and weaknesses. Sport with colleagues is a good opportunity to build better relationships and networks that may help you in your job.
Sport aids the healthy development of childrenChildren who play sports develop stronger bones and muscles, leading to a smaller chance of physical injury. Physical exercise before the onset of puberty has been identified by a New Zealand study as a way of reaching peak bone mass, enabling children to become stronger – a great foundation for future growth.
Sport strengthens bonesThe consequence of moderate and regular physical activity is simple: it solidifies the bones by improving their densification. During physical effort, bones are subject to slight shocks and pulls. They are then increasing their ability to repairing themselves and to become stronger. However, a real effect would only be visible after several months of physical training, as bones renew themselves very slowly.
At any age its importance to move (children, adults, seniors)
Sport is recommended at all ages and involves all generations. We were previously referring to bones, which become more and more brittle with age. Without regular practice throughout one’s life, we have a greater chance of fracture. For the elderly, it is important to move regularly. Of course, there are specific recommendations for people aged 65 and over.
The youngest are the most likely to practice intense sports. From the age of 40-50, the type of sport you should practice must be adapted. In this case, preference is given to softer sports that promote stretching of the muscles, such as fitness or swimming. Walking is also a good way to keep in shape.