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Sports for Better Health

What do sports do for us beyond providing entertainment, engagement, and passion?

Arihan Singh

The Olympics are shortly going to be held in Japan at a time when the world is in various stages of lockdown, and is grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic. Hence, the opportunity to focus on the invaluable benefits of sports, namely that of ensuring holistic health for those who participate regularly, is one too advantageous to pass up. What do sports do for us beyond providing entertainment, engagement, and passion?

Being an enthusiastic member of the sporting world opens up numerous paths to reach our

health goals. The first major benefit is achieving a level of fitness. Fitness is defined as the

capacity to perform physical activity and encompasses a wide range of abilities. Each sport

requires a specific set of skills and, with further development, unlocks certain fitness capabilities.

Every individual regularly engaging in sports develops cardio-respiratory endurance, muscular strength, and an improved body composition. Collectively, these result in flexibility, speed, and agility through superior coordination, balance, and greater power. Resistance exercises challenge our muscular system, resulting in stronger muscles, improved joint flexibility, and a larger range of motion which, overall, reduces the risk of injury.

The human heart is a muscle and thus requires a sufficient workout or suffers decay. Frequent exercise improves overall health, including the decrease of blood pressure, sugar tolerance, and hormone levels, which maintain the health of the heart and blood vessels. Furthermore, a healthier heart is equal to a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases, strokes, and diabetes. Those who engage in sports can manage weight gain, as physical activity not only burns calories but also improves metabolism in the long run. Participating in vigorous exercise, namely aerobic activities — running, cycling, or swimming — improves our body's ability to transport and utilize oxygen in the lungs and blood.

As well as being less likely to develop various forms of cancer and having a stronger defense

against osteoporosis (an age-related condition affecting the bones), individuals who regularly

exercise contain lower levels of LDL ("bad" cholesterol) and higher levels of HDL ("good"

cholesterol). Moreover, physical activity boosts our immune system and diminishes our chances of infection.

Exercise is a great mood booster and has proven to be an effective method to relieve stress and improve sleep. Positive hormonal secretions battle feelings of anxiety and depression, sharpen our focus, and improve self-esteem.

The pandemic has taught us the value of health and immunity. Overall, a sportsperson is

healthier, happier, and lives a life of better quality.

Play on!

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