Sports (or recreational sports) is any form of generally competitive physical activity that, though involving a degree of physical contact, aim to use, develop or improve specific physical capability and abilities while also providing entertainment for participants, and sometimes, spectators, who take part in the sporting events. A wide range of different sports can be enjoyed by people from all walks of life – from the most active and physically demanding forms such as weightlifting, cycling, swimming and skiing, to the more relaxed forms such as gardening and riding lawn mowers. While most forms of recreational sports are highly competitive, there are also forms of recreational sports that allow participants to enjoy the scenery and the competition, but with less emphasis on competing.
Generally speaking, the term sport refers to any activity whereby participants engage in activities designed to test their physical exertion under set rules or criteria, usually with the stipulation that the event must be won by some number of points. In other words, if someone was to win the 100 meter dash, it would not be considered a competition, because it does not involve competition. Conversely, a contest could be considered a competition if it involved athletic events that require participants to use their own exertion against that of another person or team. As an example, competitive figure skating involves physical exertion against another person or team, whereas speed skating involves speed and grace in movement, as opposed to strength and power. A wide variety of other types of sports can also fall into this category, including curling, canoeing and sailing.
The term recreation encompasses a great number of naturally occurring physical activities, as well as those that participants actively engage in while taking part in a particular event. This latter category is much broader than the former, and includes activities such as horseback riding, camping, fishing, swimming and many others. However, these are very broad categories, since any voluntary physical activity is included, even when participants are not engaged in the actual sport. For example, people who go on bicycle tours are considered cycling enthusiasts, despite the fact that they are not actively competing in any type of sport.
One way to determine whether an event fits into the term recreation is to look at how frequently the activity occurs. It is very common for children to participate in organized sports teams, and for adults to take part in organized dancing competitions, yet both activities are essentially recreational. Thus, a D.I.Y. activity such as a competitive dance competition is more appropriately considered a sport than a recreational activity.
As the definition above indicates, recreation includes all types of naturally occurring physical activities. In the past, the most popular type of recreation for children was basketball, which required high levels of physical exertion, a large amount of body contact and an ability to score a basket with a single touch. Today, the most popular type of athletic activity for children is track and field, which require high levels of sprinting, jumping and catching. This is likely due to the fact that track and field, unlike basketball, have developed into a professional sport for many athletes.
The popularity of collegiate and recreational athletics is expected to continue to rise as more people realize the benefits of engaging in a sport that requires one-on-one time with friends and allows for physical exertion that is repetitive. In contrast to traditional modes of exercise, gaming is a unique experience that allows participants to develop social connections and pursue leisure activities. For example, there is no running around, going for a run or catching up on the latest news. In contrast to other types of physical exertion, a person can get in an online stream of a soccer match or take part in an interactive science project in order to reach their health and fitness goals.