For long, sport – team, individual, organized or not, both from a viewer’s or athlete’s point of view – has been considered mainly as a form of entertainment, as secondary in the priorities one should set in their life. In the last decade and in the framework of compliance with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the immense potential of sport has been acknowledged more and has proven to be an "enabler of social sustainable development" (according to the UN General Assembly’s draft resolution adopted in December 2020). As more and more organizations become involved in the SDG’s, sporting associations follow the pattern to change the game towards a more sustainable sector.
The Benefits of Sports
The first thing that comes to mind is a healthier population. Regular physical activity helps with the prevention of non-communicable diseases as bodies get fitter. It also promotes healthier lifestyles among the young (healthy food consumption, sleep patterns) teaching them that being active is important. A healthy body results in a healthy mind: mental health and development are impacted positively as self-esteem grows in a strong body.
What makes the case stronger is that physical activity knows no boundaries. Race, age, money, gender, culture, religion, and disability can only affect the ‘how’ but not the ‘if’. Sport is highly adaptive in any circumstances and, therefore, as inclusive as it gets. It has the power to overcome prejudice and misconceptions and lead to a truly inclusive society. This inclusion creates a sense of belonging, a community focusing on a common interest rather than its differences. Which is why, going further, sport is considered as peace bringer.
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