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Why is it important to do sport?

September 03, 2021 4 min read

Why is it important to do sport?

This article is an automatic translation from our Original French blog. This text may contain translation errors. Thank you for your understanding.

Sport is a way of keeping our bodies healthy and helping to improve our health: from reducing illness and back pain to improving our mood and mental health, the benefits of sport are numerous. Let's find out why it's important to exercise regularly.

WHAT IS SPORT?

We often hear about sport and sporting activities, but what does sport really mean?

According to the French National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety (ANSES), physical activity consists of "bodily movements leading to an increase in energy expenditure. Physical activity includes all the movements of daily life, carried out during work, travel or leisure activities (including sport).
Sport, for its part, is defined by the ANSES as a "subset of physical activity, characterised above all by a higher intensity of effort (i.e. a higher energy expenditure)."
The Council of Europe's Charter defines sport as "all forms of physical activity which, through organised or unorganised participation, have as their objective the expression or improvement of physical and mental condition, the development of social relations or the achievement of results in competition at all levels.

There are thus two concepts, that of physical activity and that of sport.

Firstly, we talk about physical activity when it is practised on a regular and/or daily basis, such as walking or gardening. This type of activity requires an effort of moderate intensity and is part of the "30 minutes a day" recommendation for maintaining a healthy body.

Then there is sport, such as running, swimming, fitness, tennis etc., for activities that require moderate to high intensity effort, keeping the body healthy while helping to build muscle and/or burn calories. Sport usually has a framework and rules, and can be practised competitively, with the aim of achieving results and rewards, unlike physical activity.

Practising sport therefore implies the idea of physical activity that involves our bodies in physical effort. This means that we work our bodies to burn calories, build muscle and improve our endurance.

THE BENEFITS AND ADVANTAGES OF SPORT

Practising a sporting activity has many benefits, from a physical, mental and social point of view.

First of all, from a physical health point of view, sport helps to prevent illness. Indeed, numerous studies show that regular practice of sport can help reduce the risk of many diseases:

Cardiovascular risks: physical inactivity plays an important role in cardiovascular diseases and accidents, with people who move little or not at all having a risk multiplied by 2 to develop this type of disease. Regular physical activity can considerably reduce this danger.

The risk of diabetes: sport is a major asset in the prevention of diabetes. Studies show that it can prevent type 2 diabetes, with positive benefits for metabolism and glucose production.

Cancer risks: physical activity, when practised regularly, can reduce the risk of certain cancers, such as colon cancer, breast cancer and lung cancer. For example, an activity practised for 30 minutes a day would reduce the risk of colon cancer by 12%, according to the National Cancer Institute. Indeed, sport allows for a better control of body mass, and reduces certain hormones that can be responsible for the appearance of cancers.

The risks of being overweight: sport is an ally of choice when trying to control one's weight and avoid the possible risks of obesity. Today, our lifestyle is becoming more and more sedentary. It is therefore important to keep moving to avoid excessive weight gain.

Sport also helps to train the heart and make it stronger; improve endurance and lung capacity; strengthen our immune system; and make muscles and bones stronger, ideal for reducing the risk of osteoporosis.

Continuing with the benefits of sport, it is important to mention the mental benefits. Research shows that physical activity releases feel-good hormones called endorphins (or happy hormones), as well as serotonin and dopamine. Dopamine plays an essential role in daily life, regulating pleasure, sleep, attention and memory. Finally, according to a study conducted by Harvard Medical School, regular exercise reduces stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, while stimulating endorphins. A simple 30-minute walk will release these hormones, and you will feel in a better mood and less stressed.

Finally, sport is an excellent way to develop and maintain social ties. Sporting activities have long been considered a factor of social integration, as sporty people are generally seen as fulfilled. In addition, new technologies have contributed to democratising sport, by making it possible to practice at home, via videos and/or online coaching. More and more users are creating a community in which they can meet and share their advice and experiences. This community also makes it possible to meet up in real life, for example during sports sessions offered in the gym, which is ideal for meeting new people and forging new relationships.

Sport is now an indispensable part of our lives, both from a health and social point of view.



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