The Definition of Sports and Physical Activity

Sports (or sports) is any types of generally competitive physical activity that, through organised or casual involvement, attempt to utilize, hone or enhance sporting ability and skills, while also providing entertainment for participants, and sometimes, spectators. The term can also be used to refer to a particular sport or recreation activity. Examples of sports activities include golf, tennis, racquetball, gymnastics, sailing, racing, snooker, hockey, American football, basketball and swimming. In most instances, these sports are competitive and involve plenty of physical strain and exertion, although the activity can also include elements of fun and relaxation. As with other types of exercise, a wide variety of exercise equipment is available, ranging from simple balls and batons, to power rowing machines and treadmills. Most sports activities are practiced outside at a specific venue.


The physical demands placed on athletes in sports like weightlifting, rowing, wrestling or gymnastics are intense. These sports require a high level of strength and power, and an equally intense degree of stamina. Because most sports require a lot of skill and technique, a large number of athletes in various sports can be found trying to refine their technique and acquire new skills. As with other forms of physical activity, practice and continued training are crucial to becoming a good athlete. In most sports, especially those requiring great endurance, developing superior muscle strength and aerobic capabilities are key requirements to success.

A sport is defined as any “physical activity that requires and involves considerable exertion of energy” or “any physical activity involving a significant degree of skill acquisition and application.” The first two definitions above are broad, and could technically apply to a wide range of sports. However, they are a bit self-defeating when applied to most of the major sports. For instance, if you take a look at hockey, swimming, baseball, basketball, golf, rugby, tennis, skydiving, etc., the overwhelming majority of the activity is about skill, not about sheer physical exertion. That being said, these sports do tend to share certain basic characteristics, such as their use of greater physical exertion and greater exertion of skill.

To be successful in any sport, it is important to possess both a healthy mind and healthy body. Most sports require not only physical strength, but mental strength as well. This is why sports psychology has become such an important area of study in the world of sports. Sports psychology seeks to help athletes identify and manage healthy psychological aspects of their behavior – both during and after competition. Some of the factors that are studied include emotional intelligence, motivation, coping strategies, optimism, self-esteem, motivation, relaxation, determination, goal-setting, optimism, conflict resolution, flexibility, persistence, and adaptation.

One of the areas of psychology that is particularly interesting and beneficial to athletes is the area of motor skills and conditioning. Sports that require large, powerful and fast moving athletes are those that require strong, powerful and fast-paced movements and activities, and sports that require precise and smooth motor skills are those that require precision and smooth, balanced and agile movements and actions. The motor skills needed to play tennis, golf, softball, baseball, soccer, basketball, track, and many other sports are important for performing these activities. It is not surprising then that sports psychologists spend a great deal of time studying how to develop strong, fast and muscular movements and actions, especially when it comes to athletes involved in such sports as track and field, football, baseball, basketball, softball, soccer, tennis, golf, and many others.

Another area of study that is closely linked to sports and the definition of a sport is exercise and athletic training. As noted above, the vast majority of physical activity – which makes up the vast majority of sports – is aerobic or heart-related. Exercises, whether they involve sports or not, build up and maintain physical strength, which is necessary for participating in physical activity. Thus, whether you play high school football or not, you are likely to need strong, flexible and quick-heeled legs, arms and shoulders to be able to excel at your chosen sport.