10 Advantages of Playing Sports

Updated on June 17, 2019
BigBrains profile image

Paul has been passionately involved in sports such as tennis, badminton, and rugby for many years. Born in the UK, he now lives in Florida.

Source

Having been involved in numerous sports over the years, and currently a keen player in a tennis team, I thought it would be good to look at some of the many benefits of sports. As well as the many well established health advantages, there are also some social and psychological bonuses from participation too. There has been a substantial amount of research done on the health benefits of exercise and sport and I've listed links to a few of them at the bottom of the page.

I am not a medic or come from a medical background. Keep in mind that this article is written from the perspective of a keen player. I would strongly recommend that if you are considering starting taking up a sport, you should speak to your doctor first, especially if you haven't been physically active recently. Generally speaking, in order to avoid injury or harm, you should be cautious regarding physical exertion, start gently, and gradually increase the intensity as you become fitter.

10 Benefits of Sports

  1. Healthier Heart
  2. Reduced Stress and Anxiety
  3. Diverse Social Connections
  4. Reduced Risk of Diabetes
  5. Reduced Body Fat
  6. Teamwork
  7. Sleep Better
  8. Lower Blood Pressure
  9. Improved Appearance
  10. Improved Mood

1. Healthier Heart

Unfortunately, heart disease is the number one cause of death in the USA, but the good news is that numerous studies have shown that the regular exercise from participation in sports can dramatically increase heart health and reduce the chances of dying from cardiovascular disease. A study by the British Journal of Sports Medicine, for example, showed that people who swam, or participated in racket sports (such as tennis, badminton, squash), or did aerobics (including dancing) experienced dramatic reductions in mortality rates for cardiovascular death. The reduction rates were 41% for swimming, 56% for racket sports, and 36% for aerobics.

2. Reduced Stress and Anxiety

Over two thirds of Americans say that they experience stress or anxiety on a daily basis, but did you know that studies have shown that the physical activity involved with sports participation can reduce these problems? According to Harvard Medical School, exercise combats stress through both neurochemical and behavioral means. Aerobic exercise reduces stress-inducing hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, while at the same stimulating endorphins, which provide mood elevation and a general sense of well being. Behavioral benefits include better self-image as you lose weight and gain muscle tone, as well as increased confidence, vigor, and energy.

3. Diverse Social Connections

Sports clubs and teams contain people from different backgrounds, professions, and ages, but everyone is united by their enthusiasm for the game. It's a great way to meet new people and socialize. Also, if you ever need to find a lawyer, builder, or access local knowledge and get recommendations, asking at your local sports club is often a great place to start. I can't tell you the number of times that I've been helped out directly by other team members, or through their advice on issues within and outside the sport. Whenever I go to a new location, the first thing I do is join a sports club and make new friends and contacts.

4. Reduced Risk of Diabetes

The American Diabetes Association recommends a combination of aerobic activity and strength building to lower the risk of developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes (as well as managing diabetes generally). Examples of sporting pursuits that can reduce risk include: cycling, swimming, tennis, running, rowing, and skiing.

5. Reduced Body Fat

Participation in sporting activities has been established as a great way to lose weight. According to the British Journal of Sports Medicine, exercise that involves short bursts of intense effort is the most effective, but a lower intensity workout can still work for those who can't go too hard for whatever reason. According to British fitness writer and sports therapist, Katie Hiscock in her BBC article on fat burning, it's important to remember that: "Losing weight is a simple maths equation - you need to burn more calories than you consume each day." Sports can help you to burn off calories in a fun way.

6. Teamwork

Playing as part of a team is a great way to bond with others. It can create a profound sense of satisfaction when communication, cooperation, and previous practicing all comes together positively. Teamwork can be a wonderful learning experience for children, and can improve the morale and efficiency of an adult work group. Teams can bring a deep sense of belonging, and you never stop learning when you are part of them, in my experience.

7. Sleep Better

Although there have been only a limited amount of studies that have looked at the relationship between exercise and sleep, there does seem to be a positive connection. According to the National Sleep Foundation, regular exercise can help people with problems sleeping to get more slumber, although the precise mechanism for how this happens is still not known for certain.

8. Lower Blood Pressure

According to the Mayo Clinic, regular aerobic activities can be used to control or lower your blood pressure. Aerobic exercises are basically anything that uses a variety of different muscles in repeated and rhythmic movements. Aerobic sporting activities can include things like playing tennis, badminton, running, bicycling, and swimming. In its Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, the US Department of Health and Human Services advises that adults aim to do a minimum of 50 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) to 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity. On a personal level, I measure my own blood pressure regularly and in my experience, there is nothing quite like sport for lowering it.

9. Improved Appearance

As well as weight loss, physical activity can help your appearance through improved muscle tone. The more that you use your muscles, the better your physical endurance and overall strength. Being physically active also enables more blood flow and oxygen, which gives you a warm glow and an enhanced complexion.

10. Improved Mood

According to scientists, sporting activities can trigger brain chemicals that lift your mood and makes you feel happier. A study published in The Lancet by scientists at Yale and Oxford suggested that exercise was a more important factor for participants in determining their levels of well being, than their economic situation . It showed that while people who exercise regularly tend to feel bad for 35 days a year, nonactive participants felt bad for 18 days more, a substantial difference.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2019 Paul Goodman

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • BenjiRoss profile image

      BenjiRoss 

      2 months ago

      I need to get active again. I'll probably have a go at basketball - we have a court right outside our apartment complex built a few months ago. Maybe a little jog to get there too.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      2 months ago from UK

      You make a good case for sport. I certainly feel better after a 30 minute work out each morning. If I am away I can spend 90-120 minutes in the gym and pool facilities. I come out feeling fitter and more relaxed.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, howtheyplay.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://howtheyplay.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)