9 Ways Sports Improve Your Life
Do you practice any sports or take part in physical activities?
We all know sport has tremendous health benefits like weight management, improved cardiovascular health or reduced risk of heart disease, stroke or diabetes.
But most of the time we only look at the physical benefits of sport when in reality there are some extremely important mental and even spiritual benefits you get by practicing a sport or some form of physical activity.
Sport also cultivates traits and values you absolutely need for having a fulfilled and successful life.
So, without further ado, let's see ten of the most essential and meaningful traits and values sport develops and how it can make your life easier.
Sports as a Life Enhancer
1. Team Spirit
Team Spirit is an extremely common value, especially because the majority of sports are team sports, where in order to succeed you have to collaborate really well with your teammates and the other people that are part of the club.
Even if you play an individual sport, you still need the help of your coach, your therapist, your nutritionist and all the other people that make sure your only focus is on doing the best you can when training and when the competition comes. You don't have to worry about planning and structuring your workouts, your nutrition plan or recovery regimen.
Team spirit teaches us to help each other and diminish the weaknesses of our teammates by imposing our strengths in that spot.
In our day to day life, team spirit is very important because we are always in contact with other human beings, be it at work or at home, and by developing this value we can make our lives so much easier.
What does this mean for you?
It means that by practicing a sport, in particular a team sport, you understand that you can achieve goals faster and easier when supported by the right people.
It means your success is dependent upon the environment you're working in, the people you surround yourself with and how efficiently you work together.
"Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships." – Michael Jordan
Have you ever studied the most successful people in the world? If not, do that and you will find out that every single one of them became successful when they decided to take full responsibility for their actions.
Sport demands exactly the same responsibility if you really want to see significant results. You have to be responsible for everything you do in order to reach your goals.
You have to be responsible for giving 100% every time you train, responsible for every nutrition choice you make, responsible for every hour you sleep and...
Responsible for every mistake, failure, setback or inadequate decision you make!
Yeah, you heard it right!
You take full responsibility every time you don't work out because you don't feel like it, every binge eating, every hangover, and every injury.
Speaking outside the sports area, this means the following...
YOU and only YOU are responsible for the failures and unwanted results in your life and only YOU can get rid of that situation.
When this value becomes part of us, there's no setback or failure strong enough to stop the process towards achieving any goal and becoming the strongest version of ourselves.
The acknowledgment of the hard work and effort put in by every person involved in the activity you're doing, even if the end-result or the performance wasn't as expected is called respect.
This means that you respect all the hard work of the people that organized a competition or a sporting event, the referees, the supporters, and your opponents.
Going further, every athlete has to show respect to the written and unwritten rules of the sport he's involved in.
In our life, you can show respect to every person you encounter even if you don't get on really well with them or you don't agree with their principles or way of thinking. You don't have to keep them close, but you still have to respect their choices to an extent and understand that every person their personal perspective on life.
So, if you have this kind of situation, just say hello and walk away.
What if there are your job colleagues?
I recommend talking to them casually about stuff that is related to your job but without getting in debates or conflicts.
4. Rehabilitation and Integration
Sport plays a big role in physical and emotional rehabilitation after an injury, an illness or when aging makes its presence felt. With physical rehabilitation is all clear. You go to the physiotherapist and execute a series of exercises that help you get back to the normal movement of the body.
But, at the same time, by practicing a sport or some sort of physical activity you are less likely to become mentally and emotionally unstable.
This happens because physical activities give you something to strive for and give you a purpose. The level of endorphins, called "feel-good" chemicals, also rises during and after you exercise.
What's more, you get to know people with stories just like yours that ultimately may become your best friend. People that can help you because they've gone through the hardships you're facing.
Sport has a tremendous effect on the mindset of disabled persons and a lot of the times we can see how these people give unbelievable life lessons to all of us with their determination, motivation, persistence and hard work.
Self-esteem is the main problem when it comes to people with disabilities. A problem that has its antidote in the challenge of getting better every day and having something to work on, which comes in perfect line with being involved in a sport. As a result, self-esteem is significantly higher in people with disabilities that have an active life.
Oh, and don't forget the other values mentioned in this article because disabled persons develop those values just like people without disabilities, if they are taking part in some kind of physical activity.
Excellence is characterized by the willingness to become the strongest version of yourself and giving your best effort in the process of achieving your goals.
This is not about comparing yourself with someone else, but comparing yourself to the person you were yesterday.
To reach excellence, you need to be committed to the process which means being responsible for certain actions and choices you make regarding training, nutrition, rest, recovery and general lifestyle.
This is really important in our lives outside sport because excellence is required in everything we do if we really want a joyful and meaningful experience in this world.
You can reach excellence at your job, in your relationships, in parenting or in your hobbies, all of this bringing you more happiness and a sense of fulfillment.
Anyone that has been involved in professional sports knows that in order to have a high performance you have to sacrifice a lot of things.
This includes family, relationships, social life, nights out, holidays, money and for better or worse, your body. Yes, athletes go through a lot of pain mentally and physically because there is always that desire to becoming better and doing more which only comes by getting out of the comfort zone and doing things you don't want to do or you wouldn't usually do.
After telling you all of this, you may wonder what is the benefit of this sacrifice?
Why would I go through such pain only for a victory which ultimately is just a passing moment of joy?
You know why?
Because by doing that you prove to yourself that if you really want something, you do whatever it takes to get it.
As a result of that, your self-confidence increases exponentially, which then helps you become fearless and be self-reliant when hardships appear. You get that feeling of trust in your own strengths.
This goes back to excellence because in an effort to reach that level you need to sacrifice A LOT of stuff, just like a professional athlete.
But once you get there and you achieve that hard-earned goal, the feeling you get is worth every sacrifice you could think of. What is even better, is that now you adapt to the requirements of that level and everything becomes easier.
“There are two types of pain you will go through in life, the pain of discipline and the pain of regret. Discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tonnes.” -Jim Rohn
The ability to control impulses, emotions, desires, behavior and the willingness to reject short term pleasure for long term satisfaction.
Such a hard endeavor, yet one of the most efficient tools on your way to success.
Discipline is a topic I've talked about before - Choose Discipline Over Motivation- and I still think it's one of the top traits everyone has to develop for a much more fulfilled life.
Sport develops discipline simply by the way it's structured and the way it works. If you want to have results, you need to control short term desires like eating that cake, watching TV instead of training, going out a lot instead of sleeping, etc.
And the trick is this...
Sport forces you to be disciplined, otherwise, you won't see the results you're looking for. Maybe you'll see some results at first even if you slack off, but in the long term you'll never be able to maintain but rather just get in a vicious cycle of getting SOME results but never the ones you expected.
Picture yourself for a moment losing those kilograms you've been shamed by, running that distance, lifting that weight in the gym or achieving any goal related to sports whatsoever. How would you feel knowing you got past so many obstacles and actually achieved what you wanted? Would your confidence take a significant boost?
I BET IT WOULD!
Matter of fact, that's what research studies show over and over again.
By accomplishing a goal related to physical activity you show that you truly own the values we talked before like discipline, sacrifice or excellence.
Do you know what this means?
It means that you now possess some abilities that make it easier to tackle your next challenge or goal.
Simply put, you're more confident in your strengths and confident that you have what it takes to get over anything that may show up in your path.
Besides, sport improves your mood and you know what a good mood does?
A good mood automatically raises confidence and makes you believe that you can do more or at least try things that seem impossible at first.
I decided to talk about character at the end because it is the sum of all the values presented above but more specifically, it is composed of six pillars: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and good citizenship.
If you look carefully, all of these pillars are present in some form or another in sport.
What's even better, sport plays a huge part in developing these values and internalizing them so you make them part of who you are and truly live by these standards.
Now, all that's left to say is this...
Build your successful life by building your character!
© 2019 Hacicu Bogdan