Social media has been consumed this Summer with two things: Love Island and The World Cup. Twitters being filled with the hashtags #itscominghome and #loyal. Although there are a lot of similarities between both in terms of being competitions for large sums of money and ‘survival of the fittest’, only one falls under the sporting category. For those of you who might prefer Love Island and are asking “why is The World Cup so important anyway? It’s just another Sport” then this article is aimed at those of you. Those who do not understand sports. Those may have squealed at the idea of joining a sport. Those of you who dreaded physical education at school, and would always accidentally-on-purpose leave your kit at home to avoid the dreaded horror of movement. But this article is to educate those on how sports can actually be of great importance and, when explored in the right way, can improve your life in many different aspects.
Let’s begin with the obvious benefits to your health. According to the NHS, ‘regular physical activity increases healthy HDL cholesterol levels and reduces unhealthy LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. It also lowers blood pressure, burns body fat, and lowers blood sugar levels — all of which benefit heart health.’ Complete with a healthy diet, the physical movement most definitely improves your health.
If you’re not particularly bothered about health because you’ve already crippled your insides at university with alcohol and junk food, then maybe the next reason will be more beneficial to you. Sports can also boost your confidence and self-esteem. According to Healthline, ‘as your strength, skills, and stamina increase through playing sports, your self-image will improve as well. ‘ Sport is known for being social and many people join simply to make friends. Something to bear in mind next time you’re too shy to approach that group of friends or make a comment in seminars.
For those of you who are at university for the right reasons, Sports is also known to improve academic performance. If you exercise in the morning, your brain will be ready to work for the day. And if you exercise continuously, your brain will become more active and your body less sluggish, meaning you can work for at least twice as long. The science behind it, taken from NewTime, is that ‘studies have shown that exercise increases blood flow to the brain and helps the body build more connections between nerves, leading to increased concentration, enhanced memory, stimulated creativity, and better-developed problem-solving skills.’ Not only does it make you perform better physically, but also mentally.
This next reason might relate more to the importance of the World Cup. Sport creates a sense of Pride and Identity. If you are supporting a team that is near and dear to your heart, you build up a sense of loyalty to that team. And then, if they happen to win a game, that sense of loyalty becomes fulfilled and individuals are proud of the team that they stuck by and supported for so long. For example, England making it as far as they did in the world cup for an achievement for the nation as the country is not exactly known to have the best track record in the world cup. Although there was no win, there was a sense of unity as a nation.
Saving the best till last, it’s well known that sports can make most individuals happier. You ever wonder why you suddenly feel so much happier after bursting out moves on the club dancefloor? It is because exercise and movement release dopamine, a chemical that improves one’s feelings. Written by Healthline, ‘whether you are playing sports, working out at a gym, or taking a brisk walk, physical activity triggers brain chemicals that make you feel happier and more relaxed. Team sports, in particular, provide a chance to unwind and engage in a satisfying challenge that improves your fitness’. Chemically it makes you happier, and socially it also makes you happier as you are surrounded by people and working together to play something that everyone enjoys.
If you’re unconvinced on the importance of Sport and would still rather watch baby challenges and lie detectors on Love Island, then it’s understandable. It’s addictive. But by this time next week, when the final is over and half the couples are already broken up, the gym will still be there and the weights will still be waiting.