There is evidence that sport’s benefits go far beyond the positive health effects of physical activity that have long been understood. A growing body of interantional researh suggests that community sport also contributes to social goals including education, chld and youth development, social inclusion, crime prevention, economic development and environmental sustainability.
Perhaps most significantly, no other domain of community life has demonstrated sport’s capacity to connect so many young people to positive adult role models and mentors, and thus to opportunities for positive development and the acquisition of critical life skills…
Improving health and well-being: Good health is fundamental to an individual’s well-being and their ability to realize thier full human potential. It is also a crucially important economic asset, Sport can help make people healthier by :
- Keeping children and young people active and healthy – Regular participation in physical activity during childhood and adolescence can help to build and maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints; control weight, build lean muscle and reduce fat; prevent or delay development of high blood pressure; lower the risk of cardiovascular disease; reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.
- Using sport to reduce youth health risk behaviour – Young athletes are more likely than non-athletes to eat appropriately and weigh less and less likely to smoke cigarettes, use drugs, engage in premature sexual activity , or be bored of hopeless.
- Enhancing mental health – Physical activity through sport helps to enhance self-esteem, reduce stress and anxiety, and elleviate depression. In patients with psychiatric disorders, physical excerise has be shown to diminish clinical symptons, especially depression. Sport offers opportunities for positive relationships, friendships and support that fosters emotional health.
- Promoting healthy aging – Physical activity through sport can help prevent chronic disease, improve balance and coordination as people age (significantly reducing their risk of falls and hospitalisation). Improve memory and learning , and reduce the risk of cognitive loss through Alzheimer’s and minor strokes. Sport also provides opportunities for social connection for older people at risk social isolation
– What Sport Can Do – The True Sport Report (September 2008) from the True Sport Foundation in Canada.