We always associate sports with fitness. But do we really know the real benefits of sports?
Sports have been an integral part of our lives since the very inception of the society. The amount of mental, physical and social fitness required to be a part of the sports is essential for a healthy lifestyle. And this on the happiness that one can feel in being a part of it. In fact, we are willing to pay thousands just to watch the international level sports events occurring across the globe. The dopamine hit and excitement in watching a thrilling last-minute goal or a buzzer-beater basket or a last-ball six is incomparable to any other forms of entertainment.
We already know that sports are among the most fundamental and integral parts of human society. But involvement in sports is limited to professional and amateur levels for a tiny section of the population in India. Besides the lack of resources, laziness and lack of awareness are significant reasons for the same. Playing sports is still considered as an act of wasting time in many families. To discard such notions and ideology, here are 20 benefits of Sports that individual should be aware of and help India grow as a well informed and fit country.
1Healthy development of children from an early age
Health is wealth, and when it comes to our children, we don’t compromise a bit. The best and easiest way to ensure a healthy upbringing both mentally and physically for children is to get them involved in sports. Sport is fun and physically challenging at the same time. While growing up, kids are filled with a lot more energy than us adults. Sports is the easiest and probably the best way to channel that power in the right direction. Sports help build the right work ethic early on while assisting in the development of bones and muscles in the process. In a study conducted in New Zealand, it was found out that kids who are physically more active before the onset of puberty are more likely to have better adequate bone mass and strength to enable the stronger foundation for future growth.
2It teaches teamwork
Playing team sports helps you a mile in being a team person. Sometimes you learn how to sacrifice for the greater good of the team while sometimes you have to step up your game for the team. Fighting the odds for one another and standing with each other rather than blaming is an excellent value that sports instils. A win is shared by all, and the same goes while enduring a loss. Probably the best way to learn to work in a system where everyone has specific roles and responsibilities at a young age. It teaches how to solve a problem together with camaraderie.
3Sport Builds Leaders
Leadership is not something innate in somebody. It comes with practice, and the way of lifestyle one practises. To be a good leader works a long way in achieving goals in life at any stage. Sports are great at teaching leadership. Team captains and senior players have to act as leaders and guide the younger or less experienced players. To think beyond the individual level and take decisions is something that can be taught very beautifully through sports. Taking the blame for the team’s failure and selflessly distributing the success with every player are among the many great life lessons taught easily by sports.
4Sports boost self-esteem
To watch your hard work, pay off and enjoy the achievements instils the feeling of self-pride in individuals. One of the lesser found traits in the current busy world. People work tirelessly for hours to lose time for themselves in the process. Having a poor work-life balance can be lethal for your self-esteem. To be able to endure and accept the failure, learn and implement out of the same is something fundamental in sports. This trains you to stand up tall when push comes to shove. Setting timely goals in sports and achieving them helps gain an unparalleled spirit of self-empowerment for oneself. This helps build a strong ethic of learning and implementing from failure.
5Helps manage weight
Obesity is among the biggest problem in the modern world. Due to poor work-life balance and lack of active fitness regime in life, people gain too much weight which causes many health issues. Sports is a great way to manage body weight while still having fun. Kids who play sports are in good shape from an early age. At the same time, they build great ethics of supplementing the body with required healthy food and sufficient fluids. These habits tend to stay as they grow, and it is easy to stay lean and fit for them than others.
Nevertheless, it is not too late to start showing up to the ground if you are not one of those. The beauty of sports is that it has space for everybody. Try out any sport of your choice, and you feel the change in weeks.
6Fewer chances of strokes and Diabetes
To a healthy and disease-free life is everybody’s wish. Turns out this just another benefit of sports. Playing sports help develop a stronger cardio-vascular endurance, clearing bad cholesterol and helping avoid hypertension. All this goes a long way in keeping the core organs of body healthy including heart, liver, kidneys and lungs. This significantly reduces the chances of heart strokes or facing a chronic disease like Diabetes for the entire life. Though hereditary problems are inevitable, sports can immensely help in creating a better lifestyle to fight the same.
7Enhanced functioning of lungs
Aerobic and anaerobic practises in sports helps build lung capacity for better functioning of lungs. It helps achieve better health by effectively expelling the harmful gases out of the body while also working on better oxygen-absorbing ability.
8Improved muscular strength and endurance
With better heart health and lung capacity, there is an obvious increase in the overall endurance. Hearth muscles need regular exercise and challenge for efficient blood circulation. Also, better lung capacity helps get oxygen efficiently, which speaks for increased endurance. Sports which involves aerobic endurance like a marathon, cycling, etc., are great for increasing cardio-vascular functioning. And the games which involve anaerobic endurance like basketball, swimming, football, etc., are great at burning fat and building muscle strength.
Besides physical endurance, sports also help build mental stamina. To follow the set of rules and obey the authorities lies in the fundamentals of sports. This helps in lifting up the never give up nature in individuals.
9Help reduce stress
Sports is a great way to loosen up all the tensions in life. Scientifically, exercising releases endorphins which helps in getting relaxed and feel more energetic to fight out the challenges ahead. And sports is nothing but a lot of organised exercise along with a lot of fun. Also, you make a lot of new friends while playing games. It helps you get more social and life outside of work. Whenever you feel stressed out, just call one of those friends and play it out on the field or in the gym.
10Improve Mental Health
Mental health is more important than physical health. In this competitive age of the ever-growing population, pollution and problems, about 300 million people suffer from depression according to the WHO. Sports can help stimulate the release of the feel-good hormone (serotonin), which can effectively help in treating depression. When you play sports, you feel happy and free. Such feelings can help improve your mood, combat anxiety and enhance your well-being.
Sports help build a tolerance to common germs and infections, thus resulting in fewer minor illness. Rigorous physical training and running involved in sports train the immune system to fight off the common cold and related general problems. A study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine says that people who were into aerobic activities for just five days a week suffered 43% lesser from upper respiratory tract infections. Runners were also were reportedly less severely affected by the cold. Put on your running shoes next time you catch common cold and sweat out the cold.
12Helps achieve stronger bones
Sports and physical exercises help in building the strength of bones as well as joints. Evidently, sports reduces the risk of osteoporosis, a disease in which bones lose density and become weak as well as brittle. Essential minerals enter bones when under stress while running, which in turn helps in building strength in the long run. It also helps build muscle for tendons and ligaments in the joints by adapting them to continuous stress.
13Balance and coordination
A higher amount of strength in bones and muscles of the body comes with regular practice. Whether it is balancing the body in a swimming pool or not losing the balance while playing a sweep over the square in cricket, body balance is an integral part of all the sports in some or other way. Besides stability, all the games also require excellent coordination between different body parts for better results. Working on the same is one of the primary goals in sports. For example, hand-eye coordination is the fundamental of batting in cricket.
Whether you are part of a team in football or basketball or play a more individual sport like tennis or swimming, personal growth is essential for results. Players need to work on the individual game to achieve greater heights in the game. This requires them to keep track of their weaknesses and continuously work on those. Hard work needs to be assisted by smart work and planning. One of the most essential parts of the plan is setting goals, both short term and long term. Sports is excellent at teaching how to set realistic goals at regular time frames to achieve the ultimate target. Since the results are pretty evident in sports, it is easier to evaluate and work upon the weaknesses for improvements. This learning can be transitioned into any field and will help in achieving better productivity.
A player cannot play a sport with a distracted mind. In some sports, this can be really dangerous. Imagine a ball coming to you at 150 km/hr, and you are thinking about something else. Or you are running in a sprint, and you start looking back weather your competitor is approaching. You will lose the competition then and there itself. Focus is one of the major fundamentals of sports. To win, you have to focus on the goal and the plan. One distracted player in a team of 5 in basketball can ruin the defence, helping the opposition score efficiently. Margins are small when it is a competitive game in any sport. And the thrill with the continuous adrenaline rush never allows you to lose focus. It can really help enhance the trait in an individual, and there is undoubtedly no limits to the capabilities of a focussed individual.
Perseverance and dedication are what sports are all about. It is not just the achievements of Sachin Tendulkar that astonish every Indian fan, but his ‘never give up’ attitude for the 24-year long career makes him special. There is a lot to learn from such great athletes and perseverance stands atop of all. To fail and still get up to try again and again and again is what sports teaches us like no other activity in the world. And perseverance is undoubtedly the key to achieving any goal in this world, regardless of the domain of the goal.
17Sports teach discipline
Punctuality, time management and dedication sum up the life of an athlete. Sports are great at teaching discipline. To consistently excel in any sport, even stars need to be disciplined, or it can all be taken away in a snap. The fiercely competitive world of sports does not allow lazy people to survive. Sports instils discipline in the roots of one’s nature.
Being an athlete fills a sense of pride in every due to all the above benefits that one feels in himself/herself. This also calls for a sense of respect to other athletes, whether on the same team or not. Having a beef with another player on the court is possible. But the sense of respect for the individual remains intact due to all the above traits.
Sports are famous for wild situations in terms of thrill. The pressure to perform on every individual is huge at times. In such scenarios, players have to keep their cool and stay locked in the game. Being calm and stay focused on the plan one of the most significant learnings in crunch time in sports.
A disciplined schedule, along with a passionate work ethic, leaves you achieved as well as tired every night. A sound mental and physical body with an established body clock helps in fighting insomnia. When you are living a stress-free life with a sense of pride, it is definitely much easier to find a sound sleep every night.