Playing sports, either indoors or in the great outdoors, offers numerous benefits beyond the obvious physical perks.
We all know taking part in cycling, competitive running, football, basketball, swimming, baseball, and more helps develop more muscular definition, increase endurance, and lose weight. Obviously, if you're playing outside, you'll get to enjoy fresh air, soak up sunlight (to produce more vitamin D), and play on varied terrain.
Yet what else do sports do for you?
Join us as we take a look at the various benefits of getting yourself out there …
You can Improve your Social Skills
Socializing is a major aspect of most sports. At any age, from kindergarten to adulthood, taking part in sport requires you to play as part of a team or against at least one other opponent.
For example, on a basketball team, you have to figure out who will play which position, who will mark which opposing player etc. This demands you be able to decide which role suits you best, which will suit others best, and generally be willing to compromise to maintain a fluid, effective team.
Even if you’re playing one-on-one, you have to be willing to admit to mistakes, accept losing, and maintain a friendly atmosphere.
The more you spend time with people on your own team and your opponent’s side, the better your social skills will be.
This is especially helpful if you need to meet new people or want to work on your communication skills.
You can Combat Stress and Depression
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), seven in 10 adults across the USA suffer from stress or anxiety on a daily basis.
They go on to point out that exercise can help to reduce feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. How? It produces endorphins, those all-important feel-good chemicals, which helps to lift your mood.
This also helps to improve your quality of sleep, which in turn leads to feeling better overall. Their research also indicates that as little as five minutes’ worth of aerobic exercise has the power to generate anti-anxiety effects.
As anyone who experiences stress, anxiety, and/or depression on a regular basis will know, these have an incredibly powerful effect on your ability to live. Playing sports is not a cure, but it has been shown to at least help.
You can Improve your Self-Confidence
Just as playing sports has the power to improve your social skills and lift your mood, it also gives you a confidence boost.
As you develop in your chosen sport (or sports), you’ll start to learn new skills, discover abilities you never thought yourself capable of, and realize that you’re able to accomplish goals you might have thought beyond your reach. You may find yourself leading a team as you never have, or proving to be more useful than ever before.
You’re also likely to find yourself growing as a person, and having a better outlook on your own capabilities. This can carry outside of the sports hall and into your daily life, helping to improve your performance at work and your personal pursuits.
Learning a new sport can be daunting, as can getting involved in exercise following a period of inactivity. You’re likely to feel self-conscious or intimidated. However, the important thing is to remember that everyone has to start somewhere, even world-class athletes.
Just focus on what you want to achieve from taking part, and take it one session at a time.
For most of us, sport is a fun way to relax and unwind. For others, it’s a pulse-pounding experience that pushes you to the very brink of your limits, danger be damned.
Extreme sports are popular right across the globe, and particularly so here in America. As anyone who has ever watched a documentary or movie about extreme sports will know, these involve a staggering degree of risk and can take a massive physical toll.
Still, there’s no denying that extreme sports are incredibly attractive to even the most inactive observers. While you might never actually want to take part yourself, the extreme-sports community continues to enjoy great popularity, and cutting-edge recording technology lets spectators get right into the action with online videos.
Curious adventurers looking for a way in should familiarize themselves with the full range of activities, to find the one best-suited to their skills and experience.
Want to know more? We’ve compiled a list of four extreme sports to inspire you …
Snowboarding might get your adrenaline pumping and accommodate all kinds of high-flying tricks, but it’s accessible to almost anyone at an indoor-slope or snowbound resort.
Investing in the right snowboarding gear may not be cheap, but once you have the equipment, all you need is a reputable teacher to show you the ropes. Consider getting involved by attending an indoor training center and taking a lesson or two.
Staying upright on your board and learning to move your body with the required precision takes a lot of practice, so don’t be afraid to take it slow. There are around 7 million people snowboarding regularly in the USA, so you’re in good company if you take it up!
Even though paintball involves nothing so dangerous as leaping off a cliff, it still asks participants to be brave. As anyone who’s taken part in paintball knows, taking a pellet or two does bring a certain amount of pain – but the thrill of synthetic combat is undeniable!
Around 3 million people take part in paintball across the States, and there are both indoor and outdoor versions available. With the right safety gear, paintball is a safe way to have fun and unleash your competitive side.
Like snowboarding, windsurfing is incredibly exciting to watch, with the rigs themselves featuring a cool, sleek design.
This on-water sport blends sailing with surfing, placing participants on a board with a sail and a mast. Being able to windsurf is a skill demanding considerable dedication, discipline, and physical fitness – but it’s terrific fun.
At the last estimate, there were around 1.7 million windsurfers in the USA.
Surfing is, without doubt, one of the world’s most well-known extreme sports. Not only do surfers enjoy a cool, laid-back image (true or not), they also get to engage with the awesome power of nature in a way few of us do.
Around 1.7 million Americans people take to the sea in their board at least once each year, and there are 23 million surfers across the globe. Interested in learning? You’ll be able to find lessons pretty much anywhere in the States, but don’t expect to be riding waves within an hour or so. You’ll have to familiarize yourself with balancing on a board, changing position, and managing your direction.
Having the right equipment in any extreme sport is vital. Whether this is safety gear, waterproof storage, or the proper type of clothing, you need to invest in the best available to maximize your enjoyment and performance.