The only people who would ever ask this question are those who have never been involved in or participated in a sport or felt the benefits exercise offers to the body, mind and soul.
Our bodies are not made to be sedentary. To function fully our body needs to be exercised as it not only increases your bodily functions, helps the plasticity of the brain by stimulating new cell growth and can give a feeling of satisfaction and achievement. We need strong muscles to hold our skeleton up. ‘Be strong and stand tall’.
I must admit that some sports are sedentary such as archery, sailing, poker, shooting, pool, darts and numerous others, some more so than others. Sedentary sports do require a mental focus but do very little for the physical body. However, that being said if greater physical activity is not possible for you they are still very beneficial as these sports promote social interaction, stimulate the mind, improved personal skills, including cooperation and leadership, improved coordination and balance, improves self-esteem and help people to make social connections with similar interests.
Sports that combine the physical and mental give the optima health benefits.
Many think that something like a marathon requires no mental activity. One of the reasons I chose to do kayak marathons was to train my ability to focus. For example, when you are well into your race, no matter how hard you have trained for it your body will hurt. If it happens to be you backside you have two choices, either you DNF (pull out of the race) so you can get off it or you get your mind to focus elsewhere, such as on your breathing or on specific aspects of your technique. Do this well enough and you’ll find that you have forgotten about the pain in your butt.
‘Where your focus goes your energy flows.’
Many people, both adults and children, are not academic. Participating in sport can be an avenue for these people to excel and achieve the self-esteem and sense of accomplishment that others receive through academia. Take dyslexic children as an example, they have difficulty achieving through ‘school learning’. Participating in sport can help them have a sense of self and it gave them an avenue where they can feel they are achieving.
Taking part in active sport has an overall benefit for the mind, body and spirit. It helps to develop muscle growth, relieves muscle tension and helps to counteract obesity through increased cardiovascular function. Repetitive training like running on a treadmill also has the benefit of allowing the mind to relax and clear as problems can be quietly mulled over as you exercise. If you are holding anger it can also be refocused into your workout.
Sedentary sport does not stimulate the production of the countless hormones in the body that exercise does. I’m not going to go into the specific hormones and the specify functions they affect as they are numerous and extremely beneficial to our being balanced.
Hormones are chemicals that control cellular functions that are responsible for a number of physiological reactions in the body including energy metabolism, reproductive processes, tissue growth, hydration levels, balancing mood, counteracting depression, lowering blood pressure, reduced pain, promote anti body production, healthy sleep patterns and brain cell production. Exercise is now recognised as one of the leading factors to counteracting depression. This is especially significant when you look at the lack of participation in exercise by the younger generation and the high rate of suicide especial amongst young men. Every person, especially teenagers whose hormones are all over the place, need to exercise to help create balance.
One of the most valuable hormones produced is the Human Growth hormone. I’m singling out this hormone as it is found to slow the tick of the clock for oldies. Most of us would like to die healthy and the best way we can encourage this to happen is to exercise and keep on exercising. You are never too old to start and never old enough to stop.
Yes, it’s all about hormones and without hormones we would not have life. Balanced hormones promote a balance life.
Putting it all together by playing a sport is a winning combination.