What’s the one thing that Michael Jordan, Sachin Tendulkar, Lionel Messi, and Michael Phelps have in common? Their unconditional love for sport. It has not only helped them earn accolades but also brought happiness to their lives. They might be professionals, but just about anyone can stand to gain just as much from sports. Any individual who is involved in a sport can stand to gain from it. In this feature, Soulveda throws light on the benefits a sport can offer an individual, and explains how sports and physical activities can be a constant source of happiness.
Key to happiness and satisfaction
Studies have proven that men and women who engage in a team sport are happier and more satisfied with their lives than others. Playing sports allows people to interact and work together, while building mutual trust and interdependency that leads to boosted spirits, eventually leading to happiness.
Shaping positive attitude
Through competitions, people also realise their hidden potential that empowers them to hold themselves to a higher standard. In fact, researchers have revealed that sports increase self-esteem and decrease stress levels in teenagers and adults alike. Any physical activity stimulates secretion of neurotransmitters called endorphins, which triggers positive changes in mood and confidence.
Proven link between sports and academics
University of Kansas conducted a research that revealed students who were involved in sports had higher grades and attendance ratio than students who didn’t participate in any physical activities. Student-athletes also displayed higher graduation rates than non-athlete students by 8.5 percent.
Sports foster friendships
Playing sports that involve interactions and teamwork is often considered the best way to foster new friendships. To play on a field with others and work towards a common goal allows players to socialise and learn new things about each other, which can be difficult for some in other social settings.
Breaking the barriers around disability
Sports not only transcend languages and culture, but also social barriers and stigmas attached to people with disabilities. In many societies, disability is viewed as a tragedy and deficit. But sports can change that notion. Through sports, differently-abled people can showcase their skills and capabilities that will encourage societies to rethink their presumptions. It can also bring big changes in the differently-abled by enabling them to realise their hidden potential, and bringing to light the fact that they are no different from others.
Sports and healthy life go hand in hand
Many individual sports such as rock climbing, swimming, and running demand discipline and focus. This not only motivates people to practise for long hours, but also inspires them to maintain a healthy life. A body that is put under a rigorous training everyday needs a healthy diet to function and perform. When people see individual sports and healthy food can’t work without each other, they are motivated to eat what is right for their body.