Sport: what benefits and how to practice it in a sustainable way

Sport, wellness and sustainability : there is a link between these concepts that is not only theoretical. The sports activities that can be practiced in the open air are many. In addition to fighting a sedentary lifestyle with immediate benefits for mind and body, they represent an opportunity to better enjoy nature and take care of the environment.

Sport, definition

The dictionary contains the following definition: a physical activity organized according to rules , which can be individual or team.

Pierre de Coubertin, the inspirer of the modern Olympics, says that  ‘sport seeks fear to dominate it, the effort to overcome it, the difficulty to win it’ .

After all, sport is a matter of perspective, motivation and desire. For this reason there are so many: solitary, group, strong, elegant, rich, cheap, classic or modern. Did you know, for example, that both chess are considered sports?

To find the true definition of sport, perhaps everyone should answer the question: What is sport for you? What do you want?

Meaning of the word sport

The word comes from the English and means ‘fun’ but also ‘to show with pride’. In reality it arrives in the Anglo-Saxon vocabulary only in the 1500s as an abbreviation of the French ‘desport’, from which the Spanish deporte and the Italian diporto  (which means ‘leisure’) derive.

It was introduced into the Italian vocabulary only in 1800, through France, but at the beginning it was used to indicate something free.

The modern meaning attributed to the word sport of ‘practicing physical exercises at different levels, both amateur and competitive, came only in the mid-twentieth century.

Sport as a way of life

Taking care of your physical shape  means dedicating at least half an hour a day to a healthy and fun activity. Even better if practiced in the open air, favoring direct contact with the natural environment. This allows the body to oxygenate and free itself from accumulated tensions.

In fact, overweight and a sedentary lifestyle are the main dangers of this era and must be eradicated from everyday life.

Furthermore, through outdoor sports it is possible to breathe clean air and develop a more mature environmental awareness . That’s why playing sports in the green is suitable for everyone!


A question of age

Physical activity varies with age. You cannot expect to perform the same intense and prolonged efforts of the twenties when you are 60 or 70, even if you are extremely trained.

The body changes throughout life and reacts differently. You have to adapt. However , a little daily movement is recommended for everyone, in any physical condition and age.

The World Health Organization (WHO) itself gives recommendations on sports practice for age groups:

From 5 to 17 years , at least 60 minutes a day of moderate or sustained activity that stimulates the child’s heart activity and at least 3 times a week an activity that strengthens the muscular system and the skeletal system.

From the age of 18 , 150 minutes per week of moderate activity or 75 minutes of sustained activity is recommended, and up to 300 minutes per week to increase health benefits.

A doctor should always be consulted before starting the practice to rule out any contraindications


The advantages of playing sports are many. Even just running and walking, for example, are inexpensive activities that do not require special equipment, apart from a good pair of sneakers, yet they represent one of the most practiced sports and with greater benefits on the osteo-articular system and to decrease weight.

Sports activities have numerous physical , as well as psychological  and social advantages :

  • Helps the cardiovascular system
  • Fights cholesterol
  • Helps to control body weight
  • It helps rehabilitation  , allows the patient to regain their physical abilities or to develop new ones , competitive social educational games , in relation to others but also to themselves

As a ransom and  as a social integration

Perhaps it is not thought that sport can be a form of social and physical redemption, because it can help people , especially young people, who find themselves in difficulty due to poverty, an unregulated life, the underworld, violence, drug or psychological doping to find the strength and self-esteem to get out of the sad situation in which they are.

Thanks to sports practice there is a reduction in the consumption of alcohol and tobacco, and the advantages are also psychological  , with a decrease in depressive and self-injurious and social phases because social inclusion increases.

As an antidepressant

Running, swimming, cycling … physical activity, if regular, reduces the symptoms of depressed people. For many, it would also be the most effective and healthy treatment.

A workout, especially the external one, also allows you to fill up on vitamin D that our body synthesizes through exposure to sunlight. It is an essential vitamin for developing endorphins.

Movement increases physical endurance, but above all strengthens self-esteem , especially if you set yourself goals that are then achieved.


As a therapy

The best known virtues of sport, especially aerobic, are linked to the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. But its constant practice also makes it an essential element of physical and psychological rehabilitation , because it allows you to develop self-confidence in sick or disabled people, pushes you to exploit your intelligence, increases the spirit of competition and camaraderie.

Physical activity has numerous therapeutic benefits because it allows the patient to regain their physical abilities or to develop new ones. Furthermore, it helps to relate to others but also to oneself

Hence the use of physical and sports practice as part of the course of care in hospitals.

As a medicine

The main advantages derive from the prevention and treatment of overweight and obesity in children and adolescents , but it is also suitable as a medicine for patients diagnosed with cancer or chronic diseases.

In fact, movement and training are a great stimulant for the brain and body, because they improve psychological balance, tolerance to treatments , the effectiveness of therapies , strengthen the immune system and reduce the feeling of fatigue .

Sports practice is successfully used in the treatment of patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease, to control the effects of diabetes, in those suffering from respiratory insufficiency and chronic lung diseases.

Finally, maintaining a good level of energy consumption reduces the risk of developing colon cancer by 25% and increases the life expectancy of those with breast and prostate cancer by 50%.

How I work

The world of sport is becoming more and more professional. In addition to athletes and coaches, this sector increasingly needs qualified profiles of managers, sales and marketing specialists.

It offers great job prospects and is a rather dynamic industry. Of 350,000 professionals across all disciplines, two thirds work in the private sector and volunteer work, and one third in the public sector.

With 15 million Italians practicing regular physical activity, the presence of over 250,000 sports associations and 10,000 including gyms, swimming pools and football fields, the world of sport can also turn out to be a business and a career opportunity.

In secondary school alone there are over 30,000 physical education teachers, but new professional profiles are always emerging, from the team manager of a team to an expert in sports rehabilitation for the elderly, from the expert manager in public policies of sports organizations.

List of sports professions

There are many professions that can be carried out in the world of sport:

  • Training : sports instructor, fitness instructor, trainer, senior sportsman, sailing instructor, physical education teacher, mountain guide, ski instructor, lifeguard, diving instructor, instructor, animator, equestrian trainer, referee, sports physiotherapist, doctor sportsman, sports nutritionist, athletic trainer …
  • Organization and management : agent of professional sportsmen, councilor for sports policies, sports director of a team, inspector of the national sports committee, organizer of sporting events …
  • Sales, communication and marketing : sports product manager, sports marketing manager, sponsorship manager, hospitality manager, project manager of a sports event, sports journalist, sports communication professional, sports lawyer, manager of a sports shop, clerk to sales …

As an education

Sports education for young people was born in England. The idea of ​​coding the rather turbulent and agitated games of Victorian-era English high school students is due to Thomas Arnold, an enlightened educator who managed to bring order and discipline. It was enough for him to codify these games (it is impossible to play together or against each other if the rules are not respected) and to rely on some leaders to enforce them.

Sport understood as a pedagogical solution has always responded to a specific educational concern: to discipline young people.

Without an imposing will of a higher authority, but with the voluntary acceptance of common rules that should go beyond the playing field and be applied in everyday life. This allows to cultivate and channel the dynamism of young people and men and forge their character, highlighting positive moral qualities such as the spirit of initiative, loyalty, perseverance, the idea of ​​struggle and victory.


Outdoor sports

Moving in a dynamic and ‘alive’ environment such as the park near the house, a cycle path or an extra-urban path is also stimulating from other points of view. Running or walking outdoors, in fact, allow you to measure yourself against the elements of nature and the obstacles of the path.

Recent studies also show that one hour of running outdoors allows you to burn 30% of calories in more than one hour of running on the treadmill.

In addition to running, walking, trekking and Nordic walking, and even swimming in cold water to tone up, outdoor fitness includes a whole series of anaerobic activities that can be practiced in every season of the year. What you need is a bench, a path with descents and climbs and some simple ‘tools’ available on site or an outdoor swimming pool, but a pond and the sea are also good.

Plank , burpees , bear walk, jumps, inchworms , lunges, push-ups, cross-country or fast swims are just some of the many exercises that can be combined with our favorite sports routine .

Finally, for some, the ultimate in wellness is outdoor yoga . It is an introspective and profound discipline in itself that connects to the elements and energy of the Universe. Practiced in an open and not very structured natural environment, it is possible to analyze in an even more in-depth way the link with  oneself and with the earth.


Sport: practical advice

The first step to playing sports  is to make informed choices. It goes without saying that we must pay close attention to the direct and indirect effects that our sporting activity will imply on our body.

Therefore, it cannot ignore a careful evaluation of our behaviors , the clothes we decide to buy and even the food choices we will adopt.

Therefore, be careful not to use clothing or equipment from processing cycles that exploit child labor, that violate the rights of workers or that are dangerous for the environment.

Many items of clothing, for example, are produced with the help of chemicals  and Pfc, such as perfluorocarbons , particularly polluting and dangerous substances.

Even the smallest and most trivial trick can be useful. Using water bottles instead of plastic bottles helps reduce waste and waste.

Eating fruit and vegetables helps not only to replenish the mineral salts lost during sports, but also to respect the natural cycles of the earth, always favoring organic farming .

Sport and sustainability: the decalogue of eco-sports

If doing outdoor sports is the best way to take care of our well-being, it is also true that there are rules to be observed in order to combine outdoor sports with the principles of sustainability . Let’s see some of them together. Here are the main ones.


Rehydrating our body during and after a sport session is essential to maximize the benefits. As mentioned it is good to do it with water bottles brought from home, perhaps filled with tap water . Furthermore, instead of buying supplements, we can easily make an excellent isotonic drink  by adding lemon juice and half a teaspoon of iodized salt.


A sportsman must have a balanced diet, rich in fruit and vegetables, but also in proteins and carbohydrates. Avoid energy bars and prefer a good plate of pasta. In addition to polluting less, it is the healthiest and most genuine way to take care of your fitness. And if the sports session was particularly intense, remember to take hot and liquid foods , seasonal fruit and low-sugar drinks.


Materials and clothing

Using sports material from recycled products would really be the best.

And if you don’t sweat and don’t get very dirty, the clothes can be reused at least one more time. In any case, it is advisable to avoid frequent or half-load washing cycles.

No to laziness

Recent studies confirm that the reduction in the number of people who do not even practice physical activity (1% of the Italian population) would generate savings  of 80 million euros a year.

Furthermore, regular physical activity improves energy efficiency, reduces the possibility of getting sick and minimizes the use of energy for daily activities and commuting.

Climbing stairs, going to the supermarket on foot, choosing a bicycle instead of a car, spending free time outside the home are excellent habits for feeling good and helping the environment.

In its broadest sense, therefore, sport can and must promote a more sustainable and healthy lifestyle . The increasingly frequent ecological disasters induced by climate change, pollution and disturbances linked to a sedentary lifestyle and incorrect food choices, confirm that man is a source of environmental crisis .

Reversing this trend is a duty that belongs to everyone and that starts from the smallest daily choices.

Sport: list of all disciplines

It is almost impossible not to find the right activity for you among all the possible disciplines that exist.

There are those with the racket (tennis, squash, badminton), those for team (football, handball, rugbyc), those for combat (boxing, fencing, wrestling), and those with the engine (formula 1, rally, motocross). The list is long.

Some are also complementary, because they stimulate different parts of the body, others antagonists.

Here we offer you a list of all sports disciplines, whether they are Olympic or not present in the four-year event. Some new, some very old. Maybe you will discover your utterance or the one you never thought about!

  • All types of gymnastics : from disciplines recognized by the international federation to gymnastics at home
  • Artistic gymnastics : the complete guide to a very scenic sport
  • Rhythmic gymnastics : how it was born, its rules, the various specialties and the benefits for body and mind
  • Postural gymnastics : indications and benefits of postural exercises
  • Fitness
  • Fitball
  • Non-competitive race : a short guide
  • Calisthenics or calisthenics : things to know
  • Pilates everything you absolutely need to know
  • Mindful running : what it consists of and what are its benefits
  • Martial arts
  • Judo
  • Mountain climbing
  • Orienteering
  • Trekking
  • Nordic walking
  • Running
  • Jogging
  • Hiking
  • Tennis
  • Squash
  • Badminton
  • Beach tennis
  • Beach volley
  • Kicks0
  • Rugby
  • Golf
  • Bowls
  • Bowling
  • Handball
  • Hockey
  • Box
  • Freestyle wrestling
  • Athletics
  • Gear
  • Marathon
  • Skating
  • Volleyball
  • Cycling
  • BMX
  • MTB
  • basketball
  • Table tennis 
  • Archery
  • Swimming , why and how
  • Water polo
  • Canoe
  • Rafting
  • Underwater
  • Boating
  • Sport fishing
  • Water ski
  • Sail 
  • Windsurfing
  • surf
  • Wakeboard
  • Curling
  • Horse riding
  • Fencing
  • Alpine skiing
  • Cross country skiing
  • Snowboard
  • Parachuting
  • Biathlon
  • Triathlon