The Definition of Sports and Sport Related Activities
Sports (or athletic sports) is any types of generally competitive physical action that, through organised or casual participation, attempt to employ, improve or maintain specific physical ability and abilities while also providing participants, especially spectators, with entertainment. It may be a game, a series of tasks, competitions, physical exercise, etc. Some sports involve more participation from the participants than others. For example, it is more common for a football match to involve physical contact and running, than for a swimming competition to involve laps swimming, diving and surfing. Sports are classified according to the activities involved in them, with more common sports requiring only minimal physical contact, while sports like wrestling require high levels of physical strength, speed, endurance, agility, flexibility, etc.
Organisations, schools, sports teams and families to encourage people to take part in sports and recreational activities. These activities enhance physical health, mental fitness, social interaction, physical and emotional well-being. In turn, participation in such sport helps develop and nurture one’s potentials in many areas. Sport can be broadly divided into two broad categories, namely competitive and non-competitive. Competitions, whether organised professionally or informally, often serve as a form of social competition; for instance, Olympic and international level swimming events are regularly complemented by sports competitions.
Non-competitor sports, such as horse riding, cycling, fishing, beach volleyball, table tennis, golf, gymnastics, motorcycling, aerobics, etc., frequently involve minimal levels of physical exertion, but can still be considered sports, as the participant is undertaking an action of a competitive nature in order to achieve a recognised goal. The key distinction between non-competitive and competitive sports is the involvement of the athlete in a structured and controlled physical activity. The sportive activity can be of a single element or a combination of elements, such as weightlifting, sprinting, climbing, calisthenics, etc.
Non-athletic activities include those that require skill, but not necessarily physical prowess. For example, archery, canoeing, skiing, surfing, caving, cycling, fly-fishing, cross-country skiing, swimming, windsurfing, snowboarding, kite-surfing and sailing are common examples. Such sports do not require the exercise of muscular strength, although some may require highly specialized equipment. In contrast, athletes engaged in these activities often display very high levels of athleticism. For example, swimmers can use their superior swimming skills to overcome their less skilled competitors.
Sports also reflect social status and influence various societal patterns and values. Competitive and non-competitive sporting activities can have significant impacts on attitudes towards health, safety, social etiquette, and societal norms. Some studies have shown that participation in regular sport events can reduce both the risk of heart disease and stroke, and the likelihood of depression, high blood pressure and obesity. Studies have also suggested that participation in recreational sports may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and schizophrenia. Other research has suggested that participation in recreational sports may reduce the risks of diabetes, pancreatic cancer, cataracts and other eye problems, as well asuttering, attention deficit disorder, depression and substance abuse.
Not all sports can be classified as a sport. Competitive horse sports, such as Thoroughbred racing and Kentucky Derby are considered by some to be forms of competition, while others believe they are just for fun. In the United States, professional and competitive handball, golf, baseball and softball are classified as sports. Although most people in the United States enjoy these sports, they are considered competitive or sports by the International Olympic committee. Even some international sports organizations have guidelines concerning which sports can be classified as sports or competitions and which can be considered games or activities.