You likely enjoy sports for a variety of reasons. According to the National Sporting Goods Association, more than 50 percent of people ages 7 and older play a sport with some type of equipment. Included in that statistic are competitive athletes and those who simply play for exercise or fun. Reasons for liking your favorite sport vary because of the vast number of benefits exercise affords you.
According to the Mayo Clinic, regular exercise provides you with a healthy way to lose weight or avoid unhealthy weight gain. The rigorous activity associated with practice and competition also prevents a variety of cardiovascular and chronic illness such as high blood pressure. Exercise affects your cholesterol and raises your high-density lipid protein and lowers triglycerides. Another reason to like sports is that the activity improves your quality of sleep and the sex lives of both men and women.
You also may enjoy sports for a variety of psychological benefits. After a stressful day at work or home, playing sports increases the release of chemicals in your brain such as endorphins, which leave you feeling relaxed as well as energized. Being in shape and physically fit increases self-esteem and self-worth that carries into other areas of your life, such as your job and social activities. In addition, according to the Association for Applied Sport Psychology, if you suffer from depression, exercise can improve its side effects.
Sense of Belonging
Sports provide a sense of community for those who participate. Other team members motivate and encourage you during difficult practices and competitions. Team sports also provide a natural social network and allow people new to a community a chance to meet others with similar interests quickly and easily. Individual sports allow you to connect with others in your community interested in your particular sport. Most sporting good stores or gyms offer running or cycling groups so others can help you through difficult workouts.
Scholarships and/or Career
Another reason you may enjoy sports is the financial benefits they provide. Division I and II schools offer scholarships for some sports such as football, swimming, tennis, golf, baseball or track and field, to name just a few of the scholarship sports. For student-athletes who play football, for example, the NCAA reports that more than 15 percent of high school seniors will go on to play at the collegiate level. But fewer than 1 percent will play in the NFL. For those lucky enough to fall into those statistics, sports provide individuals the financial help needed to attend a college that might not otherwise be feasible. If you are good enough to play a professional sport, the activity provides a career and a means of making a substantial income.