Sport is a type of exercise where participants
follow a set of rules and aim to achieve a defined goal.
Regular physical activity in any form improves the
health of an individual. Studies have shown that regular sport of
moderate-to-high intensity is associated with reduced mortality rates. It not
only reduces the incidence of diseases like diabetes, heart disease and
obesity, but group sports like football also improve social interactions.
With many jobs
becoming sedentary, indulgence in exercise and sport has become more necessary
to improve overall health. Data from Europe indicates that the occurrence of regular sporting
activity of once a week or more is less than 40%. Participation in sports is
more common in the younger age groups. However, it is important to assess
whether the current participation in sports is enough to add to the health
benefits of a nation. The extent and regularity of participation should be kept
in mind while making such an assessment.
also be used to bring about health benefits through indirect means. For
example, health information can be disseminated through campaigns that feature
sports celebrities. One such campaign called '11 for Health' has been taken up by FIFA to
promote health. The program links 11 health messages to 11 well-known football
players and has been adopted by many countries across the globe.
Sports do carry the risk of injury. Injury is more
common with high-intensity sports commonly seen in competitive arenas. However,
a well-planned warm up and training session could help to reduce the chances of
injury in sports personnel.
and interventions from physicians to follow more sports help to increase physical
activity and improve the health of the individual. Patients should be asked
to report their average physical activity levels per day during their visits to
their doctors. This could alert physicians about possible inactivity, who could
in turn advise the patients on the health benefits of physical activity.
Nurses, physiotherapists and dieticians could also contribute by encouraging
patients to follow regular physical activity.
activity is the answer to the many illnesses associated with our sedentary
lives. Countries should make active efforts to introduce sports and other
physical activities to individuals to ensure a healthy nation.
1. Sport and exercise as contributors to the health of nations; Karim
Khan et al; The Lancet Volume 380 Issue 9836, July 2012