We all know the obvious benefits that you get from playing sports. When you look at a great physical specimen like former football athlete Jack Elway, it is obvious that sports improves your physical strength and appearance. But there are other hidden benefits you can gain from playing sports and collectively they add up to a great additional set of reasons to try sports as an exercise choice. Here are a few of the most important hidden benefits.
Improves Lung Capacity
When you exert yourself for the extended periods of time that sports requires, you gain added capacity in your lungs. You also learn to breathe deeper bringing in more oxygen into the body. We all know that oxygen goes into the lungs and then feeds red blood cells which in turn nourishes the cells and all of the major organs and systems of the body. The more lung capacity you have, the more oxygen you can bring in and the healthier and more energetic you will be throughout your day. So the time you spend running up and down the court or field is actually helping you every single day of the week. Just another reason to play sports.
The digestive tract depends on healthy and strong organs to move food through it, into your body and then to get it expelled from your body. The running, jumping and other physical activities you do during sports not only get your muscles and tendons in shape, they also work on getting your digestive track working better. The small and large intestines work on a system called peristalsis, a series of wave-like muscle contractions that moves food to different processing stations in the digestive tract. Digestion is also aided by the abdominal, back and gluteus maximus muscles that all work together to assist the intestines to move food through the digestive tract. When they are all in good physical shape from playing sports, your digestion works better. So playing sports helps with your digestion.
Better Mental Health
We too often hear about people who are frustrated because of stress on the job, being fired from work or because of a failing relationship, who lash out in anger towards others. We feel that if that person only had an outlet where they could relieve that stress perhaps the situation could have been avoided. This is true for many of these cases and why sports is so important.
When you play sports a major benefit is as a stress reliever. The phrase “leave it on the court”, does not only mean to give it your all and have nothing left when the game is over, it also means to leave all of your problems out there as well and come off the field feeling refreshed and renewed. When you play sports, there is so much exertion and release happening while you play sports that when you are done you feel spent. And as importantly, you also feel stress free. Further, sports stimulate your brain every time you play distracting you from problems and causing you to fully engage in the activity. You develop better focus and learn to not hold onto what just happened that you cannot fix. You are taught to concentrate on what is happening now at this moment. You also keep the heart rate up pumping blood faster and more efficiently to your brain and causing your endorphins to increase which leads to your feeling happier.
These hidden benefits compare nicely with the known benefits of playing sports. So now you have more reasons to tell your significant other when you need to head out this weekend and hang out at the golf course.