Sports (or physical sports) is any forms of generally competitive physical activity that, through organised or casual participation, attempt to use, develop or maintain athletic ability and abilities while offering entertainment to participants, and sometimes, spectators. Today, many people engage in sports for fitness, health and even as a means of earning money (such as in lacrosse, basketball, soccer, softball, volleyball and baseball). The word ‘sport’ is often used with reference to any physical activity requiring the use of the body. Other common categories under which sports are classified include team sports (for example, volleyball); individual sports (for example, swimming and running); and sports that require specialized equipment that is not readily available for use by other sports (for example, ice skating).
There are many people who participate in sports because they enjoy the competitive nature of it. For example, horse-riding, bungee jumping or synchronized swimming are activities that many people find extremely thrilling and competitive in nature. Competitive sports provide participants with the opportunity to excel in various physical activities that they would otherwise struggle in.
While participation in physical activities is common, the competitive nature of most sports often leads to the development of skills in areas beyond the obvious fitness aspects. Many sports develop the participant’s mental awareness and also their sense of strategy. For example, while many people engage in games such as basketball to keep fit, the games sports such as tennis or golf develop the ability to think on one’s feet and to anticipate the opponent’s moves. In addition, games sports such as soccer and baseball can help to develop teamwork and can foster communication skills that are necessary in many other situations outside of the sports arena. Moreover, games such as chess and backgammon develop the ability to problem solve, which is crucial in business and other decision making scenarios.
International sports competition is prevalent, and many people from different countries take part in it on a regular basis. Some games involved in international sports competition are football (soccer), ice hockey and American football. Ice hockey is the most popular international sport in the United States and Canada. One of the most widely watched sports in the world, American football has enjoyed a prolonged period of popularity in the United States. Competitions and championships involving American football have been regularly held since the inception of professional football in the US and Canada.
One of the unique features of sports that differs from other activities is that it does not require one to run or exercise to achieve results. Sports are based on proper form and flexibility and therefore the athlete is not limited by age or physical condition. In fact, athletes who engage in sports can maintain peak performance for years without any obvious signs of wear and tear. Sports allow participants to build self-confidence and prove their athletic prowess even under conditions that would easily defeat an individual at a different level of physical activity. Sports builds strength, improves balance and coordination, and helps participants to relax and concentrate better.
If you are interested in becoming an athlete or participating in sports, it is important that you get professional sports medicine healthcare providers to advise and treat you if you are injured or fall ill. As in any physical activity, sports can pose a risk of injury and therefore it is important that you consult with a sports medicine healthcare provider when you are suffering from an injury or illness. The initial care of an athlete is often at the recreational level such as playing sports or participating in a team sport. However, professional sports medicine healthcare providers can treat an athlete with more advanced disease processes and help reduce the risk of permanent disability.