Sports (or physical sports) is any forms of regularly structured, usually competitive physical activity that, through organised or casual competition, attempt to utilize, enhance or develop physical skill and ability while offering entertainment to participants, and at times, spectators as well. Today, sports are more of a participant’s personal pastime than a strenuous routine, although they can be strenuous. It used to be that sports required high levels of physical training and exertion, which in turn, meant large amounts of money spent on equipment and other needs. Consequently, sports were perceived as only for the wealthy, where athletes could show off their’prowess on horseback or on the beach, while non-athletes did the same in nearby fields or on nearby beaches.
With the rise in popularity of ‘high-intensity’ exercise programs such as aerobics, triathlons, marathons and other intense physical activities, sports became not just a pastime but a lifestyle for many. In fact, sports has been a common pastime since recorded history began. As humans evolved from being hunters and gatherers, to creating farming communities and relying on hunting and gathering as sources of food and other resources, sports has provided humans with an outlet for their aggression and sense of social bonding. As mankind developed farming methods and space started to open up into areas not accessible by most previous cultures, sports activity arose as a way for members of a community to demonstrate their superiority over others in a given area. Sports activities grew in popularity as societies became more developed, and even when there were no other activities readily available, sports such as running, wrestling and gymnastics became popularized by governing sports organizations.
While football is still the most popular of American sports, baseball and basketball have also become popular lately. However, the presence of a popular professional sport like baseball or basketball in American life has led to an increase in the occurrence of other less popular but physically active activities, especially in the middle schools. One such physical activity that has grown in popularity is cheerleading. Cheerleading is fun, interesting and sometimes competitive sport, especially for younger children. cheerleaders are often thought of as “the girls” in a sports team because of their dresses, haircuts and routines.
Another athletic activity that has been growing in popularity is motor skill training. Motor skill training is an exciting yet sometimes overlooked sport for many young children. This sport includes various types of exercises, such as speed and agility training, balance training, and stretching. The goal of motor skill training is to develop strength, flexibility, balance and coordination in the muscles of the arms, legs, hips, and lower back. This type of athletic activity is great for developing gross motor skills, which is necessary to perform other sports activities, such as tennis or football.
Some children may be encouraged to participate in more physical fitness activities. This can include participating in cross-country skiing, kite boarding, horseback riding, or mountain biking. Physical fitness is an important part of most sports and developing a strong physical fitness routine is essential to playing sports for longer periods of time. As children grow older, they should participate in low-impact aerobic exercises to reduce the amount of muscle strain and knee and hip soreness that they can experience during play. In some cases physical fitness is not a recommended sport for children because they lack the ability to get past the hurdles that are present in athletic competition.
The importance of being properly hydrated during sports competition or exercise cannot be overstated. While most athletes realize that it is important to stay hydrated by drinking water before, during, and after sports competition or exercise, very few realize that proper hydration is just as important during the cooling down period following sports competition or exercise. Swimmers and other water sports enthusiasts understand that cooling down after a highly physical game of basketball is just as important as drinking plenty of water before and after swimming. For runners and other runners this goal is even more significant because the faster they go, the greater the risk of heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion is the major cause of physical discomfort and is one of the most common reasons for medical evacuation and hospitalization among athletes. It is important that athletes maintain a consistent drinking and eating schedule in order to prevent heat exhaustion and dehydration.