Statistics show that around 1 in every 4 US adults play sports on a regular basis, while over 70% of young people play sports regularly. Some like softball, others opt to join a local football or basketball team. And there are many other sports that can be enjoyed by people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds.
Playing sports offers a lot of benefits too, so it’s easy to see why so many people are engaged with some form of sporting activity. Obviously, one of the main benefits is that lots of people find sports fun. It can be exciting to play a team game with your friends or test your skills against an opponent in a one-on-one sport like tennis.
Another benefit is physical fitness. People who play sports regularly tend to be fitter overall, with lower risks of health conditions like heart disease and high blood pressure. It helps with mental health too, and sport can be a great way to alleviate some stress or help yourself out when dealing with issues like anxiety and depression.
There are even social benefits, as many people make friends at their local sports clubs and can form lifelong bonds with their sporting teammates. So it’s clear to see that there are many different reasons to get involved with sports, and your life can be improved in a lot of ways by playing them, but there are also some risks and downsides.
The main issue with sports, especially certain kinds of sports, like contact sports, is that accidents and injuries can happen. Many people get injured playing sports and have to go to the hospital with things like sprains, bone fractures, bone breaks, concussions, and so on. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can enjoy your favorite games safely, with less risk of injury. Here’s how!
Do Your Research
A good way to avoid accidents and injuries while playing sports is to educate yourself on how and why they happen in the first place. After all, the more you know about a subject, the better prepared you will be to deal with it in your own life. And you can find a lot of information on the subject of sporting injuries online.
You can find guides, articles, statistics, and more regarding injuries in different sports that you can then use to make smarter decisions in your own sporting endeavors. You might find, for example, that the risks of your own favorite sport are too high for you to feel comfortable with, so you might consider switching to a safer sport instead.
Following on from the previous point, it’s important to note that there are certain sports which are proven to be more dangerous than others. Skiing, boxing, and surfing are some examples of sporting activities that are considered to be very dangerous and cause a lot of serious injuries and even deaths every single year.
Football is another sport that can cause a lot of injuries, with high rates of concussions and traumatic brain injuries reported among professional and amateur players alike. Meanwhile, sports like badminton, baseball, golf, and swimming are regarded as some of the safer alternatives you could consider switching to in order to reduce your risks of injuries.
Wear the Proper Protective Equipment for Your Sport
Just a few decades ago, many professional sports didn’t have helmets or protective equipment, and statistics from those times showed the incredible number of serious injuries that occurred. This led to big changes in many major leagues around the world, with the introduction of helmets and pads in sports like hockey and football. Even at amateur level, it’s important to follow the example of the pros and use protective gear.
It doesn’t matter what sort of sport you’re doing, you need to make sure that you’re wearing all the appropriate safety equipment for that sport. Items like helmets, gloves, pads, and so on are all designed to help players of different sports stay safe, so that even if accidents happen, the injuries incurred will be relatively minor.
Play Fairly and Follow the Rules
Another top tip for staying safe when playing sports is to always play fairly and make sure you follow the rules of the game. Playing fair isn’t just about respecting your opponents and ensuring that everyone has a good time, it’s also about safety. By being a fair player, you’ll be less likely to hurt yourself and others.
The rules, too, exist to keep everyone safe, as well as ensuring that games are played honestly and in a balanced way. Make sure that you’re aware of the rules for the sports you play and follow them at all times. If you feel yourself getting angry, frustrated, or more likely to reak the rules, consider stepping off the field for a moment to clear your head and find ways to calm down. It’s much better to lose a fair game than win one via cheating or rule-breaking.
Keep Yourself in Good Shape
Another important thing to keep in mind when playing sports is your own level of physical fitness. As discussed in the introduction, sport can help you stay fit, gain strength, and burn off excess calories, but if you make unhealthy choices in other areas of life, you might not have sufficient levels of fitness to stay safe while playing the sports you love.
Studies show that people who are unfit are more likely to get hurt while playing sports, so try to find ways in your day-to-day life to keep yourself in good shape. This might include giving up or reducing your consumption of certain vices, like alcohol, or adjusting your diet to include more healthy ingredients like fresh fruits and vegetables.
As this guide shows, there are lots of advantages to playing sports, but plenty of dangers too. Follow the rules, play fair, and always use proper protective equipment to enjoy sports safely, without any unnecessary risks for yourself and the players around you.