From pickup games in the backyard, through recreational leagues and all the way up to competitive sports at college or national level, millions of people play sports every year. Each athlete has his own reasons for playing a sport; be it competition, socializing with people or the glory they find on the playing field. A major factor that drives many athletes forward is the effects on their health from playing. Depending on the sport and the athlete, there can be both positive and negative effects on your health.

Mental and Emotional Benefits

Playing sports affects your mental and emotional health through the physiological effects that exercise has on the body. Exercise can help people reduce depression and anxiety whileproving beneficial to people who lack access to traditional treatments such as drugs or counseling. While providing long-term gain by physical activity there are also the immediate short-term gains. After a few minutes, mood improves, person is less stressed, have more energy and motivated to exercise again.

Physical Benefits

The physical benefits of playing sports are numerous. Exercise in general controls weight by burning calories, improves the functioning of the cardiovascular system, placing a lower strain on the heart, and increases an athlete's energy level while improving the quality of sleep. It also provides longer-term benefits, such as the reduced risk of diseases like cardiovascular disease and diabetes, improves the cholesterol makeup and makes the bones and muscles stronger. The athlete also develops the physical skills needed to compete in a given sport, such as hitting a baseball or kicking a soccer ball.

Benefits of Team Sports

Athletes in team sports receive additional benefits to participating in team sports. It provides them a way to meet new people and expand social network. Team sports provide a sense of camaraderie with teammates. Playing a team sport can be especially beneficial for children in teaching them to set aside their personal desires in order to help the team

Negative Effects

Despite all these benefits there are some drawbacks too. The competitive nature that drives most athletes often make them prone to injury through overtraining or ignoring injury to help their team. Coaches may facilitate this behavior by ignoring the issue or by pushing athletes to continue even when they are hurt. An athlete who sustains a concussion must fully recover before practicing or playing again, or he puts himself at risk. Repeated head trauma may cause chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disorder that can cause memory loss, confusion, poor judgment, aggression, depression and dementia.