08 July, 2011
What Are the Ways Sports Improve the Quality of Life?
Quality of life is a phrase used to define people's sense of well-being. It's something that people aspire to have and, while it's not easy to quantify, you know when you have the quality of life that makes you feel good. Sport can make a significant contribution to your quality of life, and numerous academic studies show it can impact physical and mental health, social life and life opportunities.
The Exercise Effect
Western society faces a number of health issues that affect quality of life. These are primarily cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states that exercise plays an important role in preventing these. Type II diabetes is associated with a sedentary lifestyle and obesity leads an array of health problems, including an increased risk of stroke. A 2001 study by I. Thune and A.S. Furberg also shows that there is a possible link between lack of exercise and colon cancer.
Feeling Better In Yourself
A study by the Centers for Disease Control demonstrates the powerful effect sport and exercise can have on how you feel about your day-to-day life. The study's results are based on the recommended guideline of 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily on most days of the week, or 20 minutes of intense exercise on at least three days of the week. The study of 175,850 adults revealed that if you exercise according to the recommended guidelines, you'll have twice as many days when you feel physically and mentally healthy compared to a person who doesn't exercise.
Meet the Neighbors
Sport is about so much more than just getting exercise; it's an opportunity to meet people. Loneliness diminishes quality of life and UK research on the relationship between social interaction and health suggests that people with good social networks are happier and healthier, live longer and are at less risk of heart disease. The social benefit of sport also has a strong link with its benefits for mental health. Sport is considered to have an effect on depression, anxiety, mood and self-esteem. In communities where there are political, racial or religious divisions, sport can bring people together and have a socially stabilizing effect.
Sport can enhance the quality of life of anyone who faces physical challenges. A study of athletes with cerebral palsy revealed that the majority of the athletes believed sport had a strong influence on quality of life, as well as family life, social life and physical health. Sport can have the same effect on people who are recovering from heart attacks and strokes or who have chronic health conditions that create a feeling of constant tiredness. It can also enhance the lives of people facing the challenges of aging, keeping them young at heart. It can help athletes come back from injury.
- Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine: Associations between Physical Activity Dose and Health-Related Quality of Life
- The Social Benefits of Sport; Professor Fred Coalter
- La Caixa Social Studies 26: Sport, Health and Quality of Life
- Disability Rehabilitation: Influence of Adapted Sport on Quality of Life
- Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise: Physical Activity and Cancer Risk:
- DAJ/amana images/Getty Images