We explain what sport is, its history and the types that exist. Also, what are its general characteristics, examples and more.
What is sport?
We call a certain type of regulated competitive activities sport, the practice of which stimulates the physical, mental and social capacities of those who carry them out. They are distinguished from the game, in that sense, for requiring training, concentration and a certain range of skills, and for being considered a discipline that transcends the merely recreational.
Sports are an important part of contemporary life, both in its practice and in its dissemination and commercialization as a spectacle. Therefore, the professional practice of sports is usually monitored and regulated by various public and private institutions, although there are also unofficial sports variants that are practiced in a popular way.
Those who are dedicated to one or more sports are known as athletes.
History of sport
As a recreational and entertainment practice, sport has existed since the beginning of civilization.
It is known of ancient practices and competitions in which the talent, physical strength or agility of men were demonstrated in front of kings or in homage to their gods.
Perhaps the best known of all are the Olympics of Ancient Greece: a series of festivals in honor of the Olympian gods (hence their name). They were celebrated every four years and brought together the Greek people in peace ( Olympic peace ) while their great warriors competed in different disciplines.
Sports can be classified in many ways, as they are so numerous and varied. The best, in that sense, is to group them into specific categories, such as:
- Watersports: Those that are carried out in bodies of water, generally controlled environment pools. For example: water polo, synchronized swimming, swimming, freediving.
- Team sports: Those that require the organization of a team of several people, with assigned positions and more or less strict roles, to be able to play. For example: choreographic dance, boating.
- Motor sports: Those that require the use of some type of motorized vehicle, on land, water or air. For example: motocross, motorsports, karting.
- Table sports: Those that must be played on a table or a properly prepared static surface. For example: billiards, ping-pong, pool.
- Extreme sports: Those in which the athlete is subjected to situations of physical risk and is in danger. Like mountaineering, skydiving, surfing, and bungee jumping.
- Ball sports: Those who use various types of balls, balls or balls to play. For example: tennis, soccer, basketball , rugby, baseball.
- Mental sports: Those in which the mind and not the body make the effort. For example: chess, checkers, Go and Bridge.
Another possible division distinguishes between summer sports (those that are carried out outdoors without problems) and winter (those that incorporate ice, snow or other activities typical of winter climates ).
Everyone can play sports, but those who dedicate themselves to it full time do not do it at the same level, and those who do it recreationally, sporadically. The latter are considered amateur or practicing athletes, while the former are professional athletes or sports professionals.
This means that professional athletes live to compete in their chosen discipline : they attend championships, are part of local, national or regional official teams, and even attend the Olympic Games on behalf of their country. In return, they receive a payment, since sport is their trade and their job.
Sports practice is part of what is called physical education : the training and formation of the human body through sports, to strengthen its capacities, tone its muscles and exercise it in the areas of balance, agility and resistance.
This is part of the usual content of our schools and secondary schools. Many people do not continue training afterwards, or do sports more or less occasionally, with their friends. Professional athletes, on the other hand, continue to exercise in the sport they choose, or are best at, throughout their lives.
Benefits of sport
The frequent practice of sports gives us the following benefits:
- Improves physical endurance and dexterity, coordination and strength.
- Regulates blood pressure levels by strengthening the heart muscle and burning accumulated lipids.
- Regulates the metabolism of sugars preventing insulin resistance.
- Improves flexibility and strengthens joints.
- Helps maintain body weight.
- Enhance teamwork depending on the sport, and build camaraderie ties.
Risks of sport
At the same time, all sports practice involves certain risks:
- Physical injuries Like tears, strains, fractures and sprains.
- Wears down the joints. If no pre-heating is carried out.
- Risks of accidental death. In the case of motorized, aquatic or extreme sports.
- Encourage competitiveness. What in certain personalities can be harmful.
The ancient Olympics tradition was resumed in the 19th century, thanks to the efforts of the Baron de Coubertin, the Frenchman Pierre Frèdy, who founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894. The first modern Olympics were held in Athens, Greece, in 1896, and have been held every 4 years since. They have only been interrupted due to the two World Wars of the 20th century .
Olympic sports, that is, those practiced on these occasions, are classified according to their practice in the Summer Olympics and the Winter Olympics , which are held alternately 2 years apart. About 13,000 athletes come together in these events, in 33 different sports disciplines.
Importance of sport
Sport is a way to drain and channel the competitive drives of the human being, in a more constructive and positive way than confrontations or wars. On many occasions he manages to form and strengthen ties between athletes, instead of irreconcilable enmities.
Maybe that’s why sports play in our society such an important place, being transmitted by the mass media and organizing around the fans support their favorite teams.
Sport as spectacle
Since ancient times, sports attracted the attention of the public and were a meeting place for the masses, who came to see their favorite athletes compete, and even bet on them. In present times this dynamic is sustained thanks to the media.
Events of the caliber of the soccer world championships or the main international sports leagues, enjoy massive broadcasts. In addition, they mobilize huge sums of money, large numbers of people and represent projects of planetary scope.
Examples of sports
Some examples of sports are handball, soccer, tennis, table tennis, polo, horse riding, cycling, fronton, badminton, rugby, ultimate (frisbee), rhythmic gymnastics, swimming, weightlifting, javelin throwing, target shooting, basketball, baseball, marathon, racing, motor racing, windsurfing, surfing, volleyball, golf, etc.