Sports (or physical sports) is any form of actively competitive physical activity that, though it may be physically demanding, aims to employ, maintain or enhance physical prowess and abilities while providing participants, and sometimes, spectators, with entertainment. In recent years, sports have gained considerable attention from the scientific and medical communities due to their potential health benefits. Sports research and studies continue to reveal health advantages of sports that were previously not recognized, making sports a valuable participant in the healthcare community.
The first recorded organized sports dates back to prehistoric times, when man began to build structures such as temples and complex shelters to be used in various activities. Over time, the development of sophisticated tools and other equipment made sports even more enjoyable and challenging for people. With the exception of hunting and fishing, most other physical activities were carried out using the feet. However, over the course of time, with the domestication of animals and the rise of governmental rule, sports activities began to be regulated, requiring formal organization and recognition from governing bodies. Today, governing bodies regulate and award various honors and awards to individuals and teams that participate in sports competitions.
Today, there are a variety of recognized sports. A popular example of this would be swimming, which has long been universally recognized as an endurance event and considered a sport. Furthermore, the inclusion of high-performance competitive events such as triathlons and marathons into popular calendars and events such as the Olympics and World Cup tournaments has turned it into both a prestigious athletic event and a hobby, particularly for people interested in increasing their physical fitness. Cycling, skiing, football, and baseball are also considering popular sports, although the involvement of playing sports does not necessarily require participation in a sport event. These sports can be broadly categorized into contact sports (such as contact sports such as rugby and football), endurance sports (such as swimming, Track and field, and triathlons) and sports which are specifically designed for a specific skill (such as ice skating).
Sports are usually regulated by the government, which provides financial, sporting and other assistance to qualifying competitors to ensure fair competition and to promote participation by the public at events. To ensure fair competition and to aid in the growth of the games and sports that are played internationally, many governments provide financial support for international sports tournaments. Many also contribute towards the running of events and organizing them, as well as participating in some of the events themselves.
Although the development of sports is often driven by the desire to develop athletic abilities, they can be used as a method of social interaction and as a form of medicine. As with many physical activities, sports can help improve overall health. For example, playing tennis helps develop hand-eye coordination, while football helps improve players’ stamina and physical dexterity.
In addition to the benefits that come from participating in sports, the experience itself can be highly rewarding, whether it be from competing or watching from the sidelines. The experience of competing in the Olympic games themselves can be highly rewarding, as the experience of winning big can motivate future competitors. Watching the games from a different perspective as spectators can be equally rewarding. Competitors and spectators alike can gain a great deal from participating in any number of sports and physical activities.