The Difference Between Sports and Exercise
Any definition of sport can be highly controversial. In everyday terms, a sport can be considered to be any form of competitive motion involving human beings. However, in practical terms, sport is defined by its social definition and its strong association with competition, physical exertion, and performance measures. The level of social organisation that surrounds and influence the sport helps to differentiate whether an activity is considered to be organised sport or independent sports. The association between sport and culture is complex, but it is evident nevertheless.
As sport develops and takes different forms across time and space, its definition is continuously evolving. Sport, like all other aspects of culture, is affected by politics, society and the kinds of people who are drawn towards participating in sport. As a result, the way in which sport is regulated varies from one society to another and even from one sporting activity to another. Many governments have attempted to introduce legislation that would define and regulate sport, but to date these attempts have failed to gain success.
One of the major arguments advanced against regulation of sport is the belief that sport encourages physical activity. For some people, sport is a form of mind sports; whereby the mind is used to manipulate and control physical activity. This is the basis of a number of philosophical schools of thought, some of which are held out by the opposition to regulation of sport. Proponents of sport present a view that the mind is able to achieve certain tasks that those attributed to the body and that it is this ability to use the body that contributes to the positive aspects of sport.
Although sport is traditionally associated with dangerous contact sports, its reputation is starting to change for the better. Recent years have seen the introduction of more relaxed dress codes in several countries, as well as the introduction of more physical activities in games such as cricket. The introduction of protective equipment such as helmets and padding has also improved the safety of sporting events and made them safer for the participants. Sport also promotes mental toughness, and many athletes consider it to be an effective means of developing leadership qualities in individuals. Many coaches have been trained in the use of sport psychology and many sports medicine professionals have also gained training in this area.
Some sport activities are regulated to maintain standards of physical activity, such as running, swimming and cycling. In many other instances, sport activity is encouraged to improve particular skills or to encourage competition among participants. Examples of these are ski resorts that offer skiing competitions, football clubs that develop team spirit and baseball leagues that develop bat speed. Competitions are often won through skill, rather than brute strength and skill can improve through constant training.
Professional sport involves a number of physical activities and is therefore different from recreational sports. A good example of this is professional sport, such as football or rugby, where the participant is required to run fast, throw the ball high, tackle and run at a pace which is out of sync with others in the same team. However, a sport such as badminton, golf, tennis or swimming does not require the participant to do any of these things, and is instead governed by rules that are designed to allow the participant to win. While the participant may be able to gain competitive advantage through brute force, the rules of the game prevent them from using too much force, which can cause harm to themselves or other players. This allows them to focus on skills such as technique and strategy rather than physical strength. Many professional sport competitions have been set up to reward the participants who have the most skill and strategy.