Sports (or physical sports) refers to any forms of generally competitive physical activity that, through organised or casual participation, attempt to utilize, develop or enhance certain physical skill and ability while also providing entertainment for participants, and sometimes, spectators. There are a number of sports which are regularly organized and held around the world, each with its own distinctive characteristics and features. For example, football is predominantly played between two competing teams; soccer involves interaction between a group of players; baseball is played between teams; volleyball involves a team playing against another team; and hockey is played between teams. The more common types of sports which people engage in and watch, however, tend to be those which involve contact with the ground such as running, jumping or catching. These activities can be incredibly vigorous, as is evident from the popularity of professional sports such as racing, rugby, hockey, basketball and football.
As aforementioned, most regular sports are competitions, with one team battling it out for victory. The term “competition” is often used broadly, to include a mixture of other criteria such as level of skill, proximity to the goal (e.g., “play-offs”), and rules. Often these competitions are organised by public or private organizations with the objective of encouraging the participants to engage in a fair competition, or to show each other how their physical strength and agility match up against each other.
Regular sports activities tend to develop our physical skills, both as individuals and in teams. This is because participating in sports makes us use more of our brains and to develop quicker reaction times and better overall coordination and movement. In many sports, participants must synchronize their movements with their thinking and actions in order to be successful. This coordination and thinking process is what makes the sport interesting, exciting and challenging, allowing even the most uninterested spectator to become involved and participate. In turn, this activity helps improve brain function.
Studies have shown that sports players who regularly participate in a sport develop better overall hand-eye coordination, better spatial awareness, increased hand-eye co-ordination and better motor skills. These skills are important in everyday life and help to increase our independence and adaptability to physical and mental challenges. In fact, research has found that being involved in a sport is positively associated with increased measures of brain volume. Volumes of grey matter (which includes the brain’s neurons and glial cells) increased more in sports enthusiasts than non-sports enthusiasts.
In the past, sports were primarily related to contact sports such as football, rugby and hockey. However, as the popularity of certain sports increased over the last century, sports began to be associated with particular disciplines, such as track running, wrestling and ice hockey. Today, there are many different types of sport that people can participate in, from high-intensity competitive events like skiing, to recreational activities such as hiking and surfing. Some sports help to promote health and well-being; for example, skiing and running are considered to be great cardiovascular exercises, while equestrian activities like horse riding or horse racing are considered to be good physical activities. Similarly, there are many types of recreational activity that have the added benefit of being great forms of exercise, such as fishing, hiking, camping, boating, swimming, skating and cycling.
One of the key benefits of sports is the enjoyment they bring to the participant. Participating in sports allows people to exert their physical energy and physical strength, which are essential components of healthy living. Sports allow participants to engage in physical contact that is interactive, where they can compete against another human being or group of humans. In this way, sports provide individuals with an opportunity to apply physical conditioning and muscle strength to a wide range of movements and activities. In addition to providing an individual with physical pleasure and satisfaction, participating in sports also develops mental strength, which is essential for the development of successful life-style and career choices in later life. By engaging in a sport, people are building skills that they will need to be successful in later life.