lunes, 15 de septiembre de 2008

About sport, health and other bullshits

All these Olympic days we can hear everywhere how sport helps to reach values and be healthy. Respect to health, it is a common place to consider sport as the best way to increase life quality and life quantity. In my opinion, sport is just a single word to describe a complex human activity. So, if I had to answer the question of sport as a source of health, after sixteen years being a high performance trainer in athletics, I would say: maybe.

First of all, we should classified what kind of activities exist inside the word ‘sport’ in order to analyze whether it is a health practice or not, so I divide sport in four activities:

1) Fitness
2) Formative
3) Competitive
4) Professional

It is all kind of exercises to prevent illness, reduce daily stress and to obtain an improvement in mental health. Subjects who practice Fitness have to practice at least 3 days a week, more than 45 min. each session in aerobic way, that is, less than 160 heart rate per minute, avoiding high impact exercises in order to prevent injuries in muscles, bones and joints.

I mean physical activity, especially in children, aimed to learn how human body works, sport skills for a better carrying out of merely for not to be injured and as a way of social values promoting.

Amateur competition, usually training 3-4 days a week directed toward competition once a week or a month. It needs an important work to get the goal: the victory. Since amateur, it is a hobby, no reason to exceed own limits.

It is a high performance sport, a profession, a way of showing the art of movement. The objective one: to be the best (without tricks, of course). The rest of aspects are behind main goal, to be the number one. It is not healthy at all, neither unhealthy, this is a profession, and none of us go to work thinking in improving healthy, don´t we? An artist look for art masterpiece and so an athlete does, as a singer, a dancer, a painter,etc. They ‘invest’ 4, 5, 6 hours a day to get the ‘profit’ of victory.

Regardless of whether we like or not, professional sportsmen protect their selves with the appropriate equipment and medical check-ups, care their careers to extend their sport lives. But, what about three previous categories? What about the so-named “healthy sport” in opposition to professional sport?

In a normal day we can find hazardous situations as people starving on diet, children trained as adults, amateur runners running distances they are not adapted to go, women walking in high heels, youngster in first contact with drugs trying to get a bigger muscles, friends playing tennis at 14:00 hours in summer, parents forcing sons to be succeeded sportsmen, amateurs working in a gym for hours without any objective but to get some muscle, young girls mistreating their bodies to fit a size less bikini, and so on. Thousands of examples of health risks in no professional sports.

In conclusion, sport is healthy or not depending on what kind of sport you want to practice and to follow their rules in order to not trespassing limits a person has. First what do you want to do, later to practice, in this order.

Regarding professional sport nobody should find health or illness in it, it is a job, like yours. Should Picasso have stopped to paint because inks and oil paintings were a threat to his lungs? Is sport a risk of health? Maybe, specially no professional sport.

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