It's only a game, right? Many people who have not experienced an agonizing last-minute defeat in the fourth quarter utter these words. However, what they don't seem to understand is the impact of sports and games in life. For some...it is life. The importance of participating in sports and games not only enhances your quality of life but also improves the developmental, communal and physical aspects of every participant, including the spectator.
As of 2009 The International Sports Federation lists 33 competitive sports, and approximately 400 events are recognized by the Olympic Movement. Even though there might be some sports that are not played at the Olympic level, such as football, surfing or golf, they are still considered a sport by many and enjoyed every year at the professional or collegiate level. Summer Olympic sports include: aquatics, archery, badminton, basketball, boxing, canoe/kayak, cycling, equestrian, fencing, gymnastics, handball, hockey, judo, modern pentathlon, rowing, sailing, shooting, soccer, table tennis, Taekwondo, tennis, track and field, triathlon, volleyball, weightlifting and wrestling. Winter sports include: biathlon, bobsled, curling, ice hockey, luge, skating and skiing.
In terms of games, there are several types ranging any where from horse shoes, croquet, cornhole and frolf, to pool and darts. But even if they are not categorized as sports, these physical activities are as competitive in nature and provide a fun and entertaining atmosphere.
The physical intensity and variety of the sport or game determines the health benefits and impact on your well-being. Obesity is one of the most critical health issues being addressed today. It's a serious problem that increases the risk of heart attack, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, which is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Sports can help combat obesity in adults and children, which, according to the Surgeon General, affects nearly 60 million Americans. The Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports of California believes that being involved in physical activities, such as sports, exercise or recreational games, can help reduce these risks.
The mental component of team sports and games helps develop strategies, such as deductive reasoning and critical thinking, as well as fostering social skills essential to successfully functioning in society. While involved in youth sports, children can learn about teamwork, responsibility, accountability, discipline, respect, communication and self-esteem. Sports play a pivotal role in positively shaping the physical as well as the developmental skills of children and adults.
Impacting social development classifies sports and games as essential cornerstones of this society. Participation at all age levels is important. However, if you played sports as a child, it is more likely for you to continue as an adult. With an ever increasing emphasis on health, the number of children involved in sports escalated. According to a research study published in 2000 by the International Journal of Sport Psychology and conducted by K.R. Fox entitled "Self-esteem, Self-perceptions, and Exercise," sports can have positive influence on the outlook and self-worth of many young adults, particularly young women. Participating in such activities increases the "physical and global self-esteem although the benefits are greatest for children, middle-age adults and those with initially lower self-esteem."
The fiscal impact of professional and collegiate sports in a city can transform the economic infrastructure. Football in particular drives many fans across state lines for the yearly College Bowl Games held on New Year's Day, boosting tourism in the process. The SuperBowl has the same impact, only on a larger scale as commercial airtime can cost millions of dollars and produce revenues if the ads peak interest. The 2008 Olympic Games held in Beijing created sustainable sporting venues such as the "Birds' Nest" and "Water Cube," which, according to a United Nations 2008 Report entitled "Beijing 2008 Olympic Games--Final Environmental Assessment," provide a "cultural legacy which benefits the community, region, host country and city."
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