Every person who plans to do sports does so for their own reasons: the need to let off steam, the desire to excel, the desire to be satisfied, etc. Doing sports often allows you to achieve multiple goals at the same time.
Physical activity or sports activity?
“Sports activity” should not be confused with “physical activity”.
Going shopping on foot, cycling on Sunday afternoons with the children, swimming several lengths in the pool in the garden: these activities cannot be qualified as a sport. However, these physical activities are to be commended because they fight against a sedentary lifestyle. When it comes to health benefits, it is not necessary to play sports. Physical activity several times a week is enough, even every day.
Sports activities include disciplines that are practiced in clubs or associations and involve regular training that is conducted at a steady pace, possibly in order to achieve performance.
Sport can also be considered an activity that is carried out individually outside the organized framework from the moment when it is practiced under the same conditions of regularity and intensity.
Sports practice requires more investment than physical activity, time and motivation. Before choosing a sport, it is important to ask yourself if this investment is possible to avoid disappointment and discouragement.
Exercise to lose weight
Let’s break the myth: sport alone is rarely enough to lose weight. For this, it must be connected with a proper diet. It is illusory to think that playing sports will be able to compensate for a rich diet. To burn one kilogram of fat, for example, you would have to walk 140 km or run 100 km! Regardless of the sport, his ability to burn extra pounds is very limited. So why are people who want to lose weight told to play sports?
When a professional sets a diet intended for weight loss, it will lead to the body requiring energy because food is no longer enough to cover its needs. The body will spontaneously get this energy by “burning” fat and muscle, that is, by transforming fat tissue and muscle proteins into sugars.
Playing sports regularly will force the body to preserve muscles and turn to fat in order to find the energy it lacks. For that reason, playing sports is an indispensable companion of a diet intended for weight loss. It allows you to burn more energy (energy expenditure related to sports contributes to the final effect), but above all it prevents the body from consuming muscle instead of fat.
In choosing a sport that should accompany a weight loss diet, we prefer endurance sports. Indeed, sports that are practiced without interruption for at least half an hour are the ones that best start the process of burning fat. In the case of obese people, the choice of sports to play depends on the condition of their joints, especially at the level of the hips and knees. For these people, swimming or cycling are endurance sports because they relieve the joints of body weight.
Exercise to stay fit
Staying in shape is the most common motivation for people who play sports. The health benefits of sports are very numerous and contribute to the global improvement of the quality of life:
better lung ventilation; strengthening the heart and blood vessels, which helps prevent high blood pressure and heart attack; increase muscle mass and, with proper nutrition, reduce fat mass (fight against overweight and obesity); reduced risk of type 2 diabetes (fatty diabetes in the elderly); maintenance of bones and joints (fight against osteoporosis and osteoarthritis); maintaining reflexes and motor coordination (fighting falls in the elderly); combating stress, isolation, lack of self-esteem, anxiety and depression; prevention of erection problems (impotence) in men older than 40 years.
To take advantage of all these benefits, it is often more effective to practice several sports or physical activities with complementary virtues. Combining a sport that develops resistance (such as weight training) with a sport that develops endurance (such as swimming) allows you to fully maintain the shape of your whole body.
Sport and laziness! It is completely normal to sometimes hesitate to exercise: staying at home seems to be a much better solution when it is cold or raining! A sport that really gives pleasure will quickly make you forget about the little effort it takes to overcome this difficulty, and after the session it will leave the impression of overcoming the temptation to stay at home.
Practice to feel attractive
Beauty is a matter of time, fashion and culture. But from time immemorial, athletic figures have served as the standard for physical representation. Therefore, it is understandable to choose to do sports to satisfy (or please yourself).
This benefit can be felt without a major change in morphology: a slightly flatter stomach, slightly firmer legs may be enough to give a person a better picture of themselves and feel more confident in their abilities.
In addition, the simple fact that you do sports, even without great aesthetic benefits, gives a more positive image of yourself, which is reflected in the view that those around you give you back.
Erase your small imperfections Which sport to choose to feel more attractive? For a flatter stomach: a series of sit-ups, of course, but also rowing, backstroke, rowing. For a firmer buttocks: jogging, skating, rollerblading, crawl, step, sit-ups and butt classes. For flat back: volleyball, basketball, horseback riding, backstroke. For better defined thighs: jogging, rollerblading, skiing, cycling, fitness. For a more developed torso (and firmer chest): swimming, weight training, rowing.
Stress management exercise
Many sports activities have a beneficial effect on stress: swimming, archery, yoga, tai chi, etc. Sport triggers the body to produce hormones called endorphins. These hormones cause such a feeling of well-being in an individual that real addiction can occur. Sport also makes you focus on something other than dark thoughts, work or home troubles. It allows you to have moments to yourself, out of the hassles of everyday life.
Many sports activities, especially those that are practiced in the middle of nature, help to escape, change the horizon. The way to get away from problems is not to get away from them, but to approach them more peacefully.
Competition allows you to gain better self-confidence and learn to manage moments of tension. Contributes to improving the ability to take a step back, a skill that is crucial for stress management.
Practice for fun
First of all, entertainment should be a major factor in choosing a sport. Without this sense of satisfaction, it is difficult to persevere or maintain the diligence necessary to improve performance and health benefits.
This pleasure can take on different aspects: instant excitement during training, euphoria over passing a test, joy over improving personal performance or simply meeting friends, well-being after sports activities, etc.
Other pleasures can be found in sports: extreme sensations (sailing, free flight, fast sports, etc.), different environments (high mountains, seabed, forests, cliffs, etc.).
Practice to meet others
This sport is often practiced in pairs or groups. It is an opportunity to meet friends or make new acquaintances. Sport sometimes helps to break down isolation. People who prefer individual activities to group sports still have the opportunity to engage in them within the club where they can meet other amateurs and participate in group events.
Playing sports out of love for competition
Competition (against elements, opponents or teams) is a great motivational tool for playing sports. Even for individual sports, events are often approached as a team. In competition, it is important not to disappoint your coach and partners (and, ultimately, yourself), which allows you to train more diligently and seriously. The competition also offers the opportunity to assess your level, to make the most of your abilities, to learn how to manage the anxiety of events. It is possible to work on several levels: inter-club meetings, master championships (adults), association tournaments, etc.
Is competition a good thing? Some athletes do not plan to play sports without competition. Attention! In the context of competition, it is quite possible to exceed, without realizing it, your physical capacities and lead to accidents. Age must also be taken into account. It is more risky to participate in sports competitions at the age of forty. If the athlete’s goal is to keep fit, to relax without the temptation of competition, he must not be forced. Sport should remain a pleasure, it is not necessary to suffer in order to progress.