It would be trite to refer to the countless benefits that physical activity provides to all of us individually. Sports have an indispensable role in our lives and there is no question about it. From our health to our self-esteem, our mental health and our social life, sports can bring a series of positive changes in the quality of our way of living.
Along with the benefits at a personal level, sports can be have a positive impact on local communities. Building infrastructure accessible for local citizens, organising activities and events dedicated to sports, can make a city lead by example in diverse sectors, while it can bring the following positive outcomes:
Sports can be a tool for social integration. Participating into sport activities comes with embracing values such as fair play, team work and respect of others. In this regard, there’s no room for discriminatory practices when people exercise sport. On the contrary, sport can bring members of society together.
Reduction of health care expenses
According to CEBR (2015), inactivity kills half a million of Europeans and costs the economy over €80bn annually. Adopting a sport-friendly model at local level can contribute to the reduction of obesity, heart diseases and diabetes rates. It is a fact that physical activity, with its preventive role, can be a factor of cost reduction for local health care systems.
Reduction of crime, alcohol and drug use
Several studies indicated that sports can have a preventive role against youth delinquency. As a by-product of antisocial behaviour, youth delinquency can be prevented through education and participation. Especially team sports can be a way to integrate youth in the society.
Local economies and employment rates have positively benefits from the organisation of sport events, and the subsequent increasing tourism in cities. Moreover, a local authority can gain in terms of ROI, through sponsorships. The city can likewise be an attractive destination for future sport-related investments.
Protection of environment
Protecting and improving public sport facilities means respect for open and natural spaces and subsequently the environment. Furthermore, the promotion of active models of transport, such as cycling and walking can have an effect on the reduction of a city’s traffic on roads, and as a consequence, the reduction of CO2 emissions.