It is no secret that millions of us around the world enjoy either watching or playing sports, and in many cases both. Whether its football, basketball, golf or athletics, there’s something for most people to enjoy with both physical and mental benefits for spectators and participants. Following your favourite sport has never been easier with an endless number of streaming platforms offering live coverage as well as sportsbooks offering no-deposit free bets via sites like OddsChecker, which also provide tips, previews and expert analysis. Sports participation has also grown in recent years with the plethora of information available on the internet making it easier than ever to find a team or club, or even train alone. So, what are the benefits of both watching and taking part in sport? And how do they compare?
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Watching sport can be great for the mind as it allows the spectator to lock into something real for the duration of the event, giving the mind an escape from the usual pressures of everyday life. For example, while watching their favourite team during a basketball game, most people aren’t thinking about the stressful week they’ve had at work. This kind of escapism has never been more important than it is today, with jobs becoming ever more demanding in terms of time consumption. Additionally working at home or via mobile devices has made it even more difficult to switch off from our jobs, so it’s vital for our happiness we have a pastime that gives us an escape.
Playing sports also provides that vital escapism, arguably even more so. When watching sports we often have our mobile phone or tablet within our sight, which means it doesn’t take much to take our focus away from what we’re watching and back to the real world. However, when playing a sport, most people don’t have any form of communication at hand, unless using it for recording performance. This means that the escapism playing sport provides can be even greater than what we feel when watching, as playing demands even more of our attention.
Creativity and inspiration
Enjoying our favourite sports as a spectator can also be good for inspiring creativity in our daily lives. Watching Stephen Curry score a 3-pointer from half court or Tom Brady play a seemingly impossible touchdown pass can really get your own creative juices flowing, which can help you both personally and professionally. Additionally, it’s difficult not to be inspired when watching top athletes achieve unbelievable feats, especially when you know that they have dedicated their lives to their sport. Thinking about the sacrifices made by sportsmen can help contextualise the smaller sacrifices that we struggle with in daily life, making them easier for us to make.
Participating in sports is arguably even more useful in terms of boosting your creative instincts. Players in all sports, whether team-based or individual, are faced with problems that they must solve, usually under pressure from time or an opponent. Improving your ability to problem solve in sports can help you in your daily life as the skills needed, like creativity and being able to work efficiently under pressure, are transferable.
Whether attending live events or following your team at home, at a friend’s house or at a bar, watching sports has an important social impact that is beneficial for most people. Around the world, countless friendships and even romantic relationships have been formed thanks to both people’s love of sport. Of course, plenty of relationships have ended for this reason too, with team rivalries sometimes getting in the way, but watching sports is generally a great social experience.
Taking part in sport can also be socially enjoyable with the bonds made between teammates often lasting a lifetime. Playing team sports can help improve your social skills, your ability to work in a team and your conflict resolution capabilities. Emotions run high in team sports, which can often result in bad-tempered disputes, but learning to deal with both your own emotions and those of others in these situations can work wonders for your life.