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Instant Welfare Booster: Sports

By Kamalini Ramesh

This year is slated to have some of the most exciting sporting events such as the Olympics, Copa America, and the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. With sports enthusiasts on the edge upon finding qualifying athletes and teams, just how important is sport for the welfare of society?

Instant Welfare Booster: Sports
Instant Welfare Booster: Sports

Vishwanathan Anand, five-time world chess champion said in an interview that he ran on the treadmill every night to take his mind off chess and make his mind sharper. I was particularly struck by the fact that he thought running made his mind sharper, and began to dig deeper to know whether sport could help brain function.

According to research by Harvard Medical School, physical exercise can reduce insulin resistance and inflammation, and stimulate the release of growth factors. This means that individuals can greatly increase the volume of the regions of their brains through regular exercise. Consequently, they can expect to work better and retain more information. With increasing numbers of people diagnosed with dementia and psychological disorders every year, sport can be the medium to a healthier future.

In times of tumultuous geopolitics too, sport is the crucial thread that binds society together. Cheering and chanting slogans for our national teams makes us forget the situations surrounding us, drawing us closer to our fellow citizens. Even in the direst of situations, such as communal violence in Assam in 1983, victory at the cricket World Cup had Indians from nooks and crannies of the country jubilant. Every difference was forgotten as they exalted about the performance of our cricketers.

Sports are also the way out of poverty for many. Some of the grittiest and most determined athletes such as Christiano Ronaldo, LeBron James, and Sadaf Rahimi, rose out of poverty. These athletes in turn establish funds and non-governmental organisations to lend a hand to those languishing in situations like theirs. The fame and luxurious lifestyles they were granted by sport inspire the impoverished to fight their way through to success.

The benefits sports provide are numerous and that is precisely why governments worldwide have been providing incentives for citizens to partake in sports. Schemes in India like the Fit India movement and Khelo India have been instrumental in making sports accessible to all strata of society and unlocking its benefits for them.

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