Playing a sport can be a lot of fun—and for some, it can even become addictive. Luckily, playing a sport has benefits that extend way beyond the immediate sense of fun and satisfaction of playing. Humans are social animals, and team sports can bring us together with others in a way that few other activities can. Children and young adults learn many life lessons from playing sports: how to win and lose graciously, how to cooperate with others, sportsmanship, respect for coaches, how to lead, how to follow. Adults who play sports tend to be more mentally fit, weigh less, and have lower incidences of many diseases. Playing a sport also improves one’s outlook on life and reduces the stresses created by work and family life.
The mental and emotional benefits of playing sports are natural outcomes of having to work through the challenges presented by the game, and for most of us, these lessons automatically carry over to other areas of life. So an investment in working hard to master a sport will pay dividends throughout life, however old you are when you start.
Playing a Sport Boosts Self-Esteem and Confidence
Playing a sport puts you in a continuous framework for learning new skills and having little victories that add up over time. Mastering a certain play, continually working on and improving your serve, or even working on basic drills can promote physical and mental improvements that players can observe on a weekly or even daily basis. There’s nothing like the feeling of finally figuring out a problem that you’ve been diligently working on, and the confidence you gain translates into improved performance in the classroom or the board room.
Sports Can Reduces Stress, Improve Mood
While we usually think of sports as physical pursuits, they have tremendous benefits on our psychological state as well. Physical exertion releases endorphins, which are linked to positive mood and a decrease in depression, a reduction in stress, and a lessening in sensations of pain. The emotional connection that players form with teammates can lift you up on a low day and provide a support system based on the bond that forms when a group of people shares a common goal. Sometimes the simple act of getting on the field or the court with a group of friends is enough to put your problems in perspective and lead you to find a solution instead of endlessly dwelling on a trying situation.
Needless to say, exercise is as important for adults as it is for children. Playing a sport promotes alertness and critical thinking as players learn to make smart judgements on the fly. The continued challenge helps us to stay sharp as we age. Use it or lose it!
Participation in Sports Promotes Life Skills
Sports help people develop skills that extend way beyond the playing field. Children learn how to work together towards a common goal and find their place among a group. Leadership skills are developed as each child gets a turn to play different positions and make decisions that will affect the whole group. The camaraderie of both winning and losing together is all part of playing on a team. A good coach knows how to train team members to maintain a positive attitude, play to their strengths, and work on their weaknesses. Improving your performance in the game quite literally can improve your performance in life.
Both children and adults benefit from the discipline of frequent practice sessions. Getting onto the field or the court when you might rather be doing something else builds determination and character. Preparing physically and mentally for a tough match teaches us the value of hard work when that preparation pays off.
Sports Gives Your Physical Health a Boost
The physical health benefits of playing a sport can be major motivators, especially for adults. Strong muscles and increased endurance are well known benefits, but there are many others. Playing sports promotes cardiac health by placing a stress or challenge on the heart, increasing its capacity and efficiency over time. Physical activity has been shown to have a positive effect on nearly every major physical condition, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. It may even decrease the susceptibility to develop cancer as an indirect result of keeping weight under control.
Maintaining bone density is important for health as we age. Any exercise that involves running, jumping, or lifting weights may aid in building and maintaining bone density. And physical exertion has even more benefits! After a hard practice or an exciting game, you can look forward to a night of deeper sleep with fewer interruptions, meaning that all of the important recovery work your body does while you’re asleep is more efficient. And of course, you wake up feeling more refreshed and ready to work and play even harder!
Let Wayne Sporting Goods Help Get You Moving! Wayne Sporting Goods has been keeping the community playing since 1955. We carry everything you need to play a wide variety of sports including baseball, swimming, lacrosse, soccer, field hockey, basketball, racquet sports, and more. We have a great selection of athletic shoes and fitness equipment to get you strong and ready for the season. Our own knowledgeable and experienced team members are on hand to help you select the right equipment based on size, skill level, and interest in the sport. Come in to Wayne Sporting Goods today and get kitted out for your sport of choice. No excuses—let’s get moving!