3. Sport and Health
A survey of the social functions of sport, such as the one above, clearly shows that one of the most important functions is the preservation and improvement of health, the prevention of various diseases at both individual and community levels. In the following chapter we intend to take a closer look at these interrelations between sport and the different dimensions of health, healthy behaviour.
3.1. The Effects of Sport on Physical Health
The lack of physical activity has led to the rapid spread of cardio-vascular, respiratory and tumorous diseases, in several of which Hungary is now among the first in Europe (Gál 2008). Doing sports on a regular basis reduces the amounts of inflammation and coagulation bio-markers in the individual, and improves the efficiency and structure of their heart muscles and artery walls (Apor 2012). One of the most efficient non-medicinal treatments of high blood pressure, blood glycose and high body fat is regular physical activity. Physical activity improves blood supply, and has a benevolant effect on the respiratory, circulatory organs and the motoric muscles. Sport therefore has an enormous importance in the prevention, not only in the treatment of diseases (Barna 2012; Tabák 2012).
A number of different factors contribute to the epidemy-like spreading of obesity: lack of physical activity, and thus a lower level of the use of energy, unhealthy nutrition (fast food restaurants, high salt- and fat intake, high sugar beverages) (Martos 2012). Physical activity is a considerable preventive factor of obesity, and reduces the body weight. The life expectancy of the so-called ”fit-fat” people, that is, those who are overweight but physically active is much better than that of the ”non fit-fat” people, that is, those are overweight but physically not active (Apor, 2009; Apor-Rádi, 2010). We therefore see that the positive effects of regular physical activity on the human body are complex, and has to be made an indispensable part of our lives.
An inactive way of life carries the risk of a number of diseases. Sport, through its cholesterol-reducing effect, is successfully applicable to prevent osteoporosis, diabetes, coronary and circulatory diseases and obesity. Regular sport increases muscle mass and power, well-being, circulatory functions and reduces blood pressure, thus contributing to the preservation of health and the prevention of the occurence of a number of diseases (Apor, Rádi 2010).