Sports help to build healthy interpersonal relationships. They also help to develop personal values of cooperation and mutual trust. They also help to develop students’ abilities in taking prompt and immediate decisions, they improve logical thinking, and they teach students to respect others and accept defeat graciously. The sense of sportsmanship or sporting culture, which arises from the sporting arena, also teaches students to accept defeat graciously, and to accept and appreciate success.
A sport, like gymnastics, for instance, is a form of exercise that uses the whole body to move and stretch. It does not involve contact with an object, so there is no danger of broken bones or sprained ligaments. The physical exertion required to perform gymnastics develops both motor and intellectual strength. In addition, the mental exertion sports require of its participants develops focus, concentration, endurance, and the ability to make correct decisions under time pressure.
Athletic activities developed for competitive reasons, such as ice skating and figure skating, are exercises of both mental and physical strength. Ice skaters and figure skaters regularly use their hands, feet, and other muscles to turn on an opponent, launch themselves into the air, or flip their arms and legs. In both sports, the athletes exert deliberate, muscular effort to move their bodies through various motions in quick succession.
As we have seen, modern sports have changed greatly over the last two centuries. The first recorded sports competition took place at around the start of the 20th century. The rules of the games developed were designed to provide a fair contest. Some of the traditions that evolved during this period are now part and parcel of many traditional sports.
The development of skills and physical strength was important, as was the development of sports medicine. Today, many sportspersons consult with trainers and physicians to stay healthy and perform at their maximum capacity. Athletic skill and physical strength are also important in promoting a healthy and balanced diet. This has become very important, as sedentary lifestyles and poor nutritional habits have become much more prevalent in our modern societies. Nutritional education is a large factor in maintaining good health and the prevention of diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
The rise of professionalism in sports over the last two centuries has created new conditions for sports participation. For example, it was not uncommon for games to be played outside during the cold, winter months. Such disciplines as polo, hockey, and badminton, developed to be more competitive and, when compared to earlier forms of sports, much harder to master as the world became a much larger place.