What sports do to your mind and body

Delainey Root, MVC writer

There are over 800 different sports played by people all across the world. A study at Harvard found that 25% of adults play a sport and the CDC reported that 54.1% of children ages 6-17 play a sport. Overall, it is generally accepted by the world that sports are good for both the mind and body; but is that really the case?

In short, yes. Sports have a lot of benefits, especially for children. Sports can strengthen the bones. When someone exercises while playing sports, their bones actively adapt and build more bone and increase their density. Being active also lowers cholesterol and helps lower chances of having a stroke. 

When working out, the brain releases endorphins, a hormone that causes a positive feeling similar to that of being on morphine. This high is often referred to as “the runner’s high.” Increased endorphins can improve mood and memory while also increasing focus. 

Sports teams help mentally. Sports teams can teach someone how to work with others, accept and give help, and collaborate in a way to achieve a common goal. It also helps build good habits, and can teach children and teenagers important skills like time management and how to take responsibility for their actions. Sports help them gain commitment to others and to getting regular physical activity later in life.  

Sports are also shown to help people with their concentration and help continue brain functioning into old age. Sports also lowers one’s risk of dementia. Physical activity keeps blood flowing and increases chemicals that aid in the function of the brain. 

Despite all these positive effects, there are still a few negatives as well. Sports can lead to overwhelming competitiveness and negative outcomes and behaviors stemming from that, like acting like a “sore loser.” Due to the people constantly competing and often being pushed extremely hard by coaches, people who play sports from a young age feel that they always have to win and can get extremely upset and sometimes hostile when faced with failure. They also deal with a lot of stress and fear of failure. Times like tryouts can be detrimental to people’s mental health if they fail to make the team. However, on the other side, with a good coach, these experiences can teach children or teens that it is okay to lose and how to deal with the emotions of losing.
However, competitiveness is not the only risk athletes face; there are also increased rates of injury. The National Institution of Health reported that 91% of athletes report having at least one injury due to their sport. One third of childhood injuries occur during sports. Basketball is the sport that reports causing the most injuries.

In the end, though, the good sports can do for athletes, young or old, tend to outweigh the negatives. Sports are a mostly positive way to spend time due to the effects mentally and physically. Though there are some negative effects that are good to be educated on, sports are still enjoyed by many and it does not seem that they will be going away anytime soon.