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How Does Playing Sports Affect Your Health?

by
author image Bradley Cohen
Bradley Cohen has been writing since 2006. He is the former sports editor of the "Ketchikan Daily News" in Alaska, and has been published in several newspapers and "Sports Illustrated." Cohen earned a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
How Does Playing Sports Affect Your Health?
Sports have physical and psychological benefits. Photo Credit soccer fun image by Sandra Henderson from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

Sports and other physical activities have innumerable physical health benefits, including improved cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, bone health, increased life expectancy, and coronary health. Sports can also help prevent various types of cancer and weight gain and have positive effects on mental health by reducing depression and improving cognitive function.

Weight Maintenance

Sports can help promote long-term weight loss and help avoid weight gain. Sports increase metabolic rates and can help increase lean body mass while burning calories and getting rid of excess fat. Although the amount of physical activity needed varies by body type and caloric intake, sports can help a person maintain a healthy weight. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, between two and half to five hours of moderately-intensive physical activity can help achieve weight stability. High-intensity sports can help people who want to lose weight or maintain a significant amount of weight loss.

Cardiorespiratory Health

Sports can help people of all ages maintain and improve the health of their heart, lungs and blood vessels. Physical activity can significantly reduce the risk of coronary disease and stroke. According to the British Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, approximately 40 percent of deaths related to coronary heart disease are related to inadequate physical activity, obesity, stress and raised blood pressure. Sports can help with all of these physical issues, decreasing the risk of coronary disease by about 50 percent.

Muscle and Bone Health

As you grow older, physical activity becomes increasingly important for the health of bones, muscles and joints. Building bone, muscle and joint strength is important for children.

Cancer

Sports can decrease the risk of colon cancer by as much as 300 percent, according to the British Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology. It can also significantly decrease the risk of breast cancer, and might decrease the risk of endometrial and lung cancer.

Pyschological Health

Sports can be a form of mental therapy for people with psychological disorders and depression. Sports may promote self-esteem in the form of positive perception of body image and self-worth. By participating in sports with others, people can also enter in positive social environments to promote psychological health. Physical activity can also decrease the risk of cognitive decline that comes with aging and can reduce anxiety in adolescents.

Tips and Warnings

Some risk is involved with participating in sports. While little risk is involved in participating in moderate-intensity sports such as swimming or cycling at a moderate pace, the risk of musculoskeletal injury increases with the amount of intense physical activity. People who are normally inactive should start slow and gradually increase the intensity and duration of their participation in sports.

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