The benefit of sports (including gymnastics & trampoline) on the mind and body of its practitioner is invaluable. Countless scientific studies have concluded beyond reasonable doubt that people who are physically active are *in general* healthier than those who neglect exercising. Of course, the logical contention about the detriment of high-impact games must always be considered – in terms of potential injury – it is true that there is always risk (to the anatomical structure of the body that is engaged) in playing football, doing gymnastics, trampoline, practicing martial arts or even ballet. But running a similar risk of being correct but superficial, we can assert that there is potential for injury in any activity that includes motion: walking, showering, and even combing our hair. The point that must be observed while contemplating this argument is that the benefits of sport vastly outnumber its detriments.
Before proceeding I would like to preface the following content by stating my respect and admiration for all forms and levels of skill development required in [all] types of sports. With this mentioned, it should be evident that my use of the term “sport” is in no way exclusive to those disciplines in which I have partaken; neither is my analysis of the content I have sourced this write up with, exhaustive of the benefits of sports and exercise. For a more comprehensive and complete understanding of the benefits of participating in sports the reader may want to refer to the sources provided in the bibliography and foot notes embedded herein.
Having been involved (competitively) in the sports of Gymnastics, trampoline, and martial arts from young age I have seen both sides of the above argument play out in clear detail. I have seen many injuries, both on myself and teammates. I have also beheld and experience the psychological turmoil that failure can cause. Furthermore, I have witnessed sports change lives. I have seen amazing live changes that at the time constituted great differences in the possible futures of those who underwent them. This is to say that of all the things for which I am grateful, having seen sports save lives is an experience that will never leave me.
I can spend hours, and by reason many pages, sharing the instances when involvement in a particular sports has made all the difference to me and others around me, and I might in a different paper. However, respectful of my opening statement, let us look at a little of what science has to say about the benefit of playing sports for personal development.
This concludes part 1 of this article. Stay tuned next week for parts 2 and 3.
Follow Peyton Dracco on Twitter at @pdracco
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