On top of a healthy diet, the benefits of exercise are endless. The way that our human bodies have evolved simply favors movement, and it seems to be our natural way of being.
We know that this ideal is far from our everyday reality, however. Most of us have to sit in the office for several hours everyday, tempting us to get our hands on yummy treats.
Combine the time spent sitting on a chair, and the strong temptation for snacking on empty, processed foods, and efforts to become healthier simply become more and more difficult, even futile.
Replacing these unhealthy treats with more nutritious snacks to munch on during the day is a good start to improve your health. However, one of the best ways to make up for the amount of time we spend each week being inactive is sports.
Sports Make Exercise Rewarding
The physical aspect of sports gets all the press, with all its obvious and direct effects on physical fitness. But what lies at its foundation is its social element.
Beyond mastering complex skills or setting records, what seems to be more important to people is the chance that sports provide for them to move together, or against each other in friendly competition.
As such, sports matter in how they change not only bodies, but lives. They enable people to form deeper bonds, and make it possible for them to find other people who share their interests outside of sports.
And so, as communities shape and enable the positive benefits of sports, they are in the process shaped by it, too.
Sports Welcome You into a Community
We’ve seen a lot of great initiatives in the community trying to get people, especially children, involved in sports. Not only does this have enormous physical and mental health benefits, it also keeps children actively occupied within a positive, social environment.
For example, in Los Angeles, the Huffington Post reported that soccer team LA Galaxy has been changing the lives of young Latino soccer fans by outspending every other Major League Soccer franchise in the U.S. in terms of its youth development program.
This takes a lot of weight off parents, who want their children to be enjoying all the benefits of having an active life, for their health as well as their capacity to deal with the challenges of life.
The LA Galaxy has been a catalyst in encouraging youths to play soccer – a sport that isn’t as well participated as the likes of basketball, baseball and football in the US.
Golf website Play Your Course cites the First Tee of Greater Houston as an example of a community whose goal is to improve kids as human beings through sports. Their aim is to get more children into golf regardless of their financial situation.
Their programs focus on helping kids develop healthy habits and take important life values to heart through the sport. The impact of their programs is being felt by over 300,000 children at the moment, and they’re working towards reaching nearly twice that number of children by 2020.
The Fresh Air Fund supports New York City children from low-income communities by offering them the opportunity to spend a summer doing outdoors activities. This allows them to make new friends, develop their self-esteem and learn new skills that will last a lifetime.
These are just a few examples of wonderful community initiatives to get children active and social by participating in sports and games.
Sports Create Support Systems
These tremendous efforts don’t happen on a whim. Being inactive can wreak havoc not only on the physical health of individuals, but also on their mental state.
The solution that sports offer for this problem does so much more; they create really valuable support systems within and around communities, helping them form strong social bonds that improve the very quality of their lives.
And this only goes to show that taking a more holistic view of health and recognizing the connections among the physical, the emotional and the social enables one to see how one’s individual fitness can create wide ripples of effect.
Adopt a healthy and active lifestyle, and you’ll be sure to see a change not only in yourself, but among your family and friends as well.
The social aspect naturally found in sports only serves to highlight this effect.