The Unique Benefits of Sports

The Unique Benefits of Sports

Part 3 of the 4 part Intro to the MMM program

In regarding the activity of sports, what is the benefit of sport, it has been well established the importance of play on children during child development sports can facilitate this but it differs as we grow older. Sports is a unique atmosphere that combines multiple avenues of personal development and integrates it into 1 activity. Humans can achieve a lot of their physical, neurological, and social needs through sport as well as important skills like confidence, collaboration, and leadership. It’s unique and underrated as a lot of its benefits are not acknowledged but as we look at the data behind sports beyond just exercise you become more aware of the importance of utilizing these benefits for the future of our youth. When referring to the benefits of sports as an activity its an interesting dynamic as the benefits can be split into two categories social and physical health

Play a sport. It will teach you how to win honorably, lose gracefully, respect authority, work with others, manage your time and stay out of trouble – Anonymous

The Social Benefits of Sports

Pertaining to the social benefits these exist regardless of the amount of physical movement in the sport which is why we can see Esports have tremendous benefits on participating players. A recent study by Microsoft saw that 84% of gamers said gaming has positively impacted their mental health during the pandemic with 71% having decreased loneliness in the pandemic (Bach, 2021). While another study into the impact of video games on well-being saw that during the pandemic there was an increase of playing time in 71% of study participants with 58% of participants seeing a positive impact on their well-being (Barr & Copeland-Stewart, 2021). This is consistent with other reports stating sports positive effect on self-control, having higher self-confidence, and developing important social skills that can help individuals in adulthood (De Lench, 2010). These are skills that translate to increased success in the workplace with men who participate in high school sports being paid 31% higher than their peers who didn’t participate in high school sports (Barron et al., 2000). Other studies have seen that teenagers who played sports developed stronger leadership skills, had more confidence, and excelled in group collaboration more than their peers that did not participate in sports. We have also seen sports participants have better problem-solving skills which is also an occupationally advantageous skill (Segelken, 2014). These are the social benefits of sports participation independent of its physical benefits and it satisfies our social desires as humans to interact with others while also equipping us with fundamental skills needed in life to help us achieve success in different environments and interactions with others.

The Physical Benefits of Sports

The physical benefits of sports are directly tied to the positive effects of exercise on overall personal well-being. Regular physical activity can positively affect your body structure by building and maintaining healthy bones, muscles, and joints while also reducing fat body fat percentage. Exercise reduces cholesterol, improves cardiovascular fitness, and prevents or delays high blood pressure (GAO, 2012). Which are important but with an increased focus on the mind and mental well-being exercise is very effective in that area as well. Studies have found that exercise is as effective as medication at chronic disease prevention which is important as cases of chronic disease have a relationship with major depressive disorders (Vina et al., 2012). In the US depression is found to be present in 17% of cardiovascular cases, 23% of cerebrovascular cases, 27% of diabetes patients, and more than 40% of cancer patients (MUKESHIMANA & CHIRONDA, 2019). A study in 2020 saw that 60% of American children are at increased risk of chronic disease due to insufficient amounts of cardiorespiratory fitness which forecasts the potential problems that could arise. Exercise improves cognitive function, blood circulation, self-esteem and increases the release of dopamine & serotonin leading to reductions in anxiety, depression, and negative moods while alleviating symptoms of depression like low self-esteem and social withdrawal (Weir, 2011)(Raghuveer et al., 2020)(Sharma et al., 2006).

Next Steps

As we have started to see the benefits of sports as an activity and the importance of sports coaching a question of “why is there still a crisis in our youth, clearly sports can not be this beneficial?” Well, the reason has a lot of variances especially when looking at the macro perspective of the collective of all athletes. The aim is to focus on steps to take to help improve particular behavior that result in positive mental health outcomes. To do this sports need optimization in order to extract the best aspects of sports coaching and sports as an activity in order to get the desired change we want to see because it going to be us working as a community and team at a micro level until we start to see the change we desire.


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Raghuveer, G., Hartz, J., Lubans, D., Takken, T., Wiltz, J., & Mietus-Snyder, M. et al. (2020). Cardiorespiratory Fitness in Youth: An Important Marker of Health: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association. Circulation142(7).

Segelken, H. (2014). Youth sports ‘spill over’ to career success | Cornell Chronicle. Cornell Chronicle. Retrieved 14 December 2021, from

Sharma, A., Madaan, V., & Petty, F. (2006). Exercise for Mental Health. The Primary Care Companion To The Journal Of Clinical Psychiatry08(02), 106.

Sharma, A., Madaan, V., & Petty, F. (2006). Exercise for Mental Health. The Primary Care Companion To The Journal Of Clinical Psychiatry08(02), 106.

Vina, J., Sanchis-Gomar, F., Martinez-Bello, V., & Gomez-Cabrera, M. (2012). Exercise acts as a drug; the pharmacological benefits of exercise. British Journal Of Pharmacology167(1), 1-12.

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