citizens in the United States are suffering from mental or physical health problems, scientists agree that the practice of sports on a regular basis is the key to a healthy body and lifestyle. According to a recent survey, sports is a really effective way to prevent against obesity (Department of Health and Human Performance, University of Houston, 3855) which is a major concerned in the United States. Many scientists seek to answer the question: In what way the practice of a sport will best prepare the body to face different diseases, nutrition and mental problems? In this paper I will argue that even if sports can lead to serious injuries such as head injuries, bone fracture, and anterior cruciate ligament; Sports not only help, but they can heal, and prevent some of today’s most pressing health issues such as Osteoarthritis, obesity, and heart disease.
How Can Sport Affect Health:
Sport and other physical exercises or activities provide various physical benefits that help in improving an individual’s health and cognitive functioning. Sports help in improving a person’s health by preventing several types of diseases such cancer and obesity. In addition, sports results in improved coronary health, bone health, muscular fitness, and higher life expectancy. Through burning of calories and eliminating excess fat from a person’s body, sports can increase the lean body mass and metabolic rates. While the extent with which the practice of sport prepares the body to tackle diseases, mental and nutritional problems is still unknown, sports help in preventing some of the most pressing health issues in today’s society. In this paper, I will argue that even if sports can lead to serious injuries like anterior cruciate ligament, head injuries and bone fracture. Sports not only help, but they can also heal and prevent some of the most pressing health issues like osteoarthritis, heart disease, and obesity.
Sports and Health:
Sport is regarded as a highly effective tool for involving and empowering people, communities, and nations to take measures towards enhancing their health and well-being. This is largely because sport has a unique and general power to attract, encourage, and inspire people. In the past few years, various scientific researchers have discovered that sport can be a powerful means for mobilization of more resources to help fight several diseases across the globe. Based on the findings by the World Health Organization, sport and physical activity offers people of all ages, sexes, and conditions with a series of physical, social, and mental health benefits (“Sport and Health,” p. 27).
Sports not only help in improving overall physical fitness and regular physical activity but it also has a major positive impact on various health risk factors like high cholesterol, use of tobacco, high blood pressure, stress, and obesity. One of the most important factors for the maintenance of a healthy and physically active lifestyle is safety in sports and physical activity, which is a vital pre-requisite for continued participation in sporting practices (Verhagen, van Stralen & van Mechelen, p. 899). The need for safety in sports and physical activity is due to the health risks within the sporting environment since sporting events can result in serious injuries on individuals. Consequently, the prevention, reduction and control of sport injuries have become an important aspect for researchers, clinicians, and the society.
Sport-related Health Risks and Injuries:
Regardless of the many health benefits provided by the practice of sports on a regular basis, one of the major limitations of sporting practices in achieving health outcomes is the associated health risks. Sports is only a highly effectively tool for positive health outcomes when it’s applied in an integrated and holistic manner to lessen the various ills that can be found in sport environments. The various health risks associated with sport and physical activity include over-exertion injuries, lack of proper training and safety tools, and unsafe playing conditions and environments. Additional sports-related health risks and injuries emanate from the use of unlawful performance-enhancing substances in high-performance sports. Moreover, prolonged exercise during sport increases the risk of infections on the upper respiratory tract and has a negative impact on people involved in such activities.
However, these sports-related health risks can be minimized by ensuring that sporting activities are driven by health objectives. These activities should also consider the participant’s access to proper nutrition, his/her health status, and the extent of his/her involvement in physically demanding activities at home or the workplace. In order to lessen these health risks, sporting initiatives should be carefully included in other program components in a holistic and integrated manner.
While sports-related health risks can be reduced significantly through various necessary steps as previously outlined, sporting environments and activities can also result in serious injuries to participants. These injuries are usually known as sport injuries that happen to the participant though it impacts many other people in the system. The other people within the sporting system who are impacted by sport injuries is basically the participant’s support team such as teammates, parents, and friends. Currently, sport injuries have a higher profile since many types of injuries have been greatly minimized by several preventive measures (Huston & Speed, p. 195). Due to their potential to become severe, sporting injuries have a greater incidence in hospital admissions in various regions across the globe.
Notably, the location of a sporting injury is usually dependent on the sporting activity being performed. Some of the most common and severe sport-related injuries are those that occur by structure or system. These injuries usually occur to ligaments and joints, bones, tendons, and muscles with their severity depending on the extent of physicality of the sporting activity. Some of these injuries include:
Bone fracture or a break in the bone is a severe and most common sports-related injury that can occur in several places such as the wrist, ankle, and kneecap depending on the sport being performed. Some of the main types of bone fracture include simple or non-displaced, displaced, impacted or comminuted, compound, epiphyseal, and stress fractures. While some of these fractures may require surgical intervention in the treatment process, some bone fractures are less likely to require such procedures. Some of the sporting events that are likely to cause bone fractures or a break in the bone are rugby and American football.
Head injuries during sporting events are some of the severe health problems since it can lead to death. Head injuries are likely to result in death the skull, which houses the brain to form a protective capsule, is damaged or fractures. While the occurrence of skull fractures is not common, concussions are the most common brain injuries in contact sports. Concussions are temporary loss of consciousness or disorientation that immediately follows the injury or contact during sports. However, a subdural hematoma with which blood build-up compresses the brain is more severe than a concussion and is likely to occur in contact sports. In the initial occurrence, a subdural hematoma seems insignificant though it’s followed by another head injury within a week or two with disastrous results (Gotlin, p.48).
Anterior Cruciate Ligament:
Anterior Cruciate Ligament is a common knee injury that was previously considered as a career-ender for sportsmen and women. This injury is one of the most common lower extremities injuries that occur because an individual’s knee carries the weight of the entire body and is largely involved in locomotion during sporting activity. One of the main types of anterior cruciate ligament is patella dislocations in which the kneecap falls off the groove which it normally glides along. The other main type of these injuries is patellar tendinitis that can produce during running or jumping. Patella dislocations and injuries are likely to occur when there is a muscle imbalance that makes it not to work properly and accurately. This causes the undersurface to become chronically irritated and the patella may dislocate if there is trauma. One of the most notable aspects of knee injuries is that some of them can also be caused by the menisci, which tears easily and can actually lock the knee if one of its pieces gets caught in the knee joint.
Health-related Benefits of Sports to Individuals:
As previously mentioned, participation in sporting activities is an important factor to an individual’s well-being from a public health perspective. This is because there are no longer any uncertainties that participation in sports and physical activity on a regular basis lessens the risk of premature mortality. Moreover, participation in sports helps a person to reduce coronary heart disease, diabetes mellitus, colon cancer, and hypertension. This is regardless of the lack of knowledge on whether health-related benefits from sports outweigh the risk of injuries or disabilities, particularly in high-performance sports (Bahr & Engebretsen, p. 56). Some of the various health-related benefits from participation in sporting activities include & #8230;
Maintenance of Weight:
One of the major benefits of involvement in sports is its impact on maintenance of weight since it helps in promoting long-term weight loss and helps in preventing weight gain. This is achieved through the increase of metabolic rates and lean body mass while eliminating excess fat and burning calories. While the required amount of physical activity differs based on the caloric intake and body type, sports can assist an individual to maintain a healthy weight. For people who want to maintain a huge amount of weight loss, high-intensity sports can be the best option while reasonably-intensive physical activity helps in realizing weight stability.
Well-being of Muscles and Bones:
As previously mentioned, bone and muscle injuries are some of the most common health-related risks in sports participation. However, as an individual grows older, there is need for maintenance of the well-being of muscles and bones for proper body functioning. When an individual takes into consideration the necessary precaution measures, sports and physical activity becomes increasingly for muscles, bones, and joints health. Participation in sports provides people with the required elements to build the strength of muscles, bones, and joints.
For people with psychological depression and disorders, participation in sports is regarded as a form of mental therapy. This is because it can enhance a person’s positive of positive body image and self dignity (Cohen par, 6). Through the involvement in sporting activities, individuals can also engage in positive social environments that enhance their psychological well-being. Participation also promotes psychological well-being be lessening the rate of cognitive decline due to aging and minimizing anxiety in adolescents.
Sports and Today’s Most Pressing Health Issues:
One of the main reasons for increased encouragement for participation in sports is because of its impact on the most pressing health issues in today’s society. While there are various health-related risks associated with sports and physical activity, sports can not only heal but also help and prevent some of the most pressing health issues. Actually, participation and sports has been used to prevent several health issues in today’s society such as:
Heart Diseases and Cancer:
Coronary heart diseases and various types of cancer have developed to become some of the most pressing health issues in today’s society mainly because of individual’s lifestyles. However, sports and physical activity help in preventing the occurrence of these diseases by enhancing the cardio respiratory well-being of an individual. Sports and physical activity assist people regardless of their ages to maintain and enhance the well-being of their heart, blood vessels, and lungs. According to the findings of research, it’s reported that approximately 40% of deaths related to coronary heart diseases are due to inadequate physical activity and increased blood pressure. Sports help in lessening the risk of coronary heart diseases by approximately 50% because it’s vital in addressing all the physical issues associated with such diseases. Furthermore, recent research has discovered that sports minimizes the risk of colon cancer by an estimated 300% and significantly reduces breast cancer and lung and endometrial cancer.
One of the major and most pressing health concerns in the United States is the increase of obesity among people especially young people. The occurrence of this disease has continued to increase significantly among people because of their lifestyles. In many Western countries, obesity among the youth has increased rapidly in the past 10 years to become a major health issue. The increase in the number of overweight and obese people throughout the world is largely because of the reduced amount of physical activity and practice of a sport. Many people have lessened the amount of their household, occupational, and leisure time activities in combination with a hyper caloric diet (Kyrolainen et. al., p. 908).
The increase has also been coupled with the secular declines in various cardiovascular disease risk factors like smoking, blood pressure, and cholesterol. The other reason contributing to the increase in overweight and obesity is the changes in social environments that have decreased physical activity among people especially the youth. These changes strongly affect an individual’s physical activity patterns because they no longer require high physical demands like walking and carrying loads.
According to recent survey, regular practice of sport together with an enhanced physical fitness significantly lessens the risk of obesity. The practice of a sport induces acute and chronic physiological responses that provoke structural and practical adaptations that enhance a person’s physical fitness. Consequently, this helps in reducing several metabolic problems that may contribute to obesity and overweight such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes mellitus, and heart disease. Through an improved physical fitness through the lessening of the risk of obesity and metabolic problems, the regular practice of a sport improves a person’s overall health.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that commonly occurs among older people and is regarded as the most prevalent form of arthritis. In the United States osteoarthritis of the knee and osteoarthritis of the hip joint occurs to 6% and 3% of individuals over the age of 30. This disease is characterized by an ongoing loss of cartilage that is normally accompanied by growths that lessen joint motion and develops bone cysts that causes pain. Some of the risk factors associated with this disease include high body weight and abnormal joint anatomy. People suffering from osteoarthritis usually experience and complain of problems during walking and climbing stairs.
While recent research suggests that high-performance sports can increase the risk of osteoarthritis later in life, the regular practice of certain sport lessens the risk of this disease. Certain sports such as walking, skiing, and swimming have low risks for the future occurrence of osteoarthritis (Chambers & Cooper par, 5). Therefore, the moderate practice of a sport on a regular basis helps in lessening the risk of this disease in the future, which is a common disease among older people.
Sport has continued to remain an important facet of society because of its role in uniting people and helping in the fight against various diseases. While certain sports especially high-performance activities can result in various injuries, the regular practice of a sport is vital in maintaining a healthy life.
Bahr, Roald, and Lars Engebretsen. Sports Injury Prevention. Vol. 17. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, 2011. Print.
Chambers, Abigail E.L., and Grant Cooper. “The Role of Sports and Activity in Osteoarthritis.” Arthritis MD – Trusted Arthritis MD – Arthritis Information from Doctors Who Care. Arthritis MD. Web. 16 Nov. 2011. .
Cohen, Bradley. “How Does Playing Sports Affect Your Health?” LIVESTRONG.COM – The Limitless Potential of You. Demand Media, Inc., 30 Mar. 2011. Web. 16 Nov. 2011. .
Gotlin, Robert S. Sports Injuries Guidebook. Illustrated ed. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2008. Print.
Hutson, Michael A., and Cathy Speed. Sports Injuries. Illustrated ed. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2011. Print.
Kyrolainen, Heikki, Matti Santtila, Bradley C. Nindl, and Tommi Vasankari. “Physical Fitness Profiles of Young Men.” Sports Medicine 40.11 (2010): 907-20. Print.
“SPORT AND HEALTH – PREVENTING DISEASE AND PROMOTING HEALTH.” Right To Play. Right To Play. Web. 16 Nov. 2011. .
Verhagen, Evert A.L.M., Maartje M. Van Stralen, and Willem Van Mechelen. “Behaviour, the Key Factor for Sports Injury Prevention.” Sports Medicine 40.11 (2010): 899-906. Print.
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