Sports and health go hand in hand. Be-friend sports and it will shower manifold blessings of mind, body and spirit; ignore it and risk slipping into physical distress and mental agony.
There are sports galore and each sport has unique health advantages. Bowling improves bone density due to heavy-lifting, volleyball promotes hand-eye coordination and flexibility and ping-pong increases hand-eye coordination. Constant running builds endurance and muscular strength, especially in the lower body. Squash improves flexibility in the back, thanks to the twists, lunges and turns associated with the game.
Sports improve physical health. Coronary heart disease and stroke are the leading causes of death in today’s society, due to a sedentary lifestyle and pressures of modern living. A study by the US Department of Health and Human Services shows that exercise can play a crucial role in preventing such incidents.
Sports have a major impact on the mind as well. Modern life is taking a toll on mental health, pushing people to depression, anxiety and mood disorders. There is evidence to suggest that physical activity can contribute to mental well-being through improved mood and self-perception.
Sports bring about happiness and relaxation by triggering brain chemicals that make a person happy and relaxed. Team sports help people to unwind with teammates and friends in a recreational setting.
Sports reduce stress and depression, as a physically active mind is less likely to fall prey to daily stressors and negative thoughts. It lowers the stress hormone levels in the human body and stimulates production of endorphins, which are natural mood lifters that keep stress away.
Sports build memory power as the brain remembers more when the body is active. Sports also improve the quality of sleep by inducing sleep faster and deepening the sleep cycle, which in turn leads to a healthy mental outlook.
A sport is more than physical and mental well-being alone. There is a co-relation between sports and leadership as the time spent in training and in the sports activity inculcates a team mindset and leadership qualities among the team members over a period of time.
Sports also encourage positive lifestyle decisions. It is very likely that a member of a soccer team would spend the evenings and weekends practicing with the team rather than binging on food and drinks.
Sports opens up opportunities to meet people and well-networked people live happy, healthy and long lives. In fact, international events such as the Olympics and the upcoming World Cup 2018 provide a platform for players and athletes from across the world to forge bonds of friendship that transcend national boundaries and build a more united world.
There is an undeniable risk inherent in sports. Moderate-intensity sports such as swimming and cycling may be safe, but the risks of contracting injuries increase in proportion to the intensity of a physical activity. People should therefore start slow and only gradually increase the intensity and duration of their exposure to any sports activity.
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