Sports tourism can improve the health of entire communities. Here’s how.
The Olympics are arguably the oldest sports tourism event on record. Viewers came from every corner of the Greek world, as well as nations from as far away as modern-day Spain and Turkey to view athletic contests which included, but were not limited to, boxing, horse racing, wrestling and of course, running and sprinting.
This tradition of traveling far and wide to view and/or participate in a sporting event continues to this day in the form of sports tourism. It is a fast-growing sector of the traveling industry, raking in hundreds of billions of dollars per year. An argument could be made that one of the reasons the industry has exploded is because of its focus on health.
Following are three ways sports tourism contributes to a healthier existence.
At home, there are many distractions. It can be hard to stick to an exercise routine. One benefit of taking an adventure or sports-themed getaway is that it gives you a chance to refocus and prioritize your health.
Once you realize how much better you feel when you do put your health front and center, you can work on making it a habit when you get back home. One of the keys to forming a new habit is repetition and focus. Your sports tourism getaway is an ideal time to work out a schedule so that when you get back home, the diversions of daily living don’t interrupt your workout routine.
Tip: Take a photo on your getaway indulging in your favorite activity. When you get back home, don’t plop it on your Facebook page and forget it. Frame it and put it in a place where you can see it every day. Every time you look at it, you’ll remember not only how much fun you had, but why being healthy is important.
Want to lose a few pounds? Sign up for a local softball league, swim team or tennis club. There’s nothing like weekly practices and games to help you get on, and stick to, a training schedule.
Cultivation of Friendships
Whether your sports tourism activity is local, or away from home, one of the benefits is the opportunity to forge lifelong bonds of friendships. And this is as important to your health as annual checkups. Proof?
In one study of nearly 3,000 nurses with breast cancer, women without close friends were four times as likely to die as those who had 10 or more friends. The study went on to cite that proximity and the amount of contact with a friend didn’t matter, and that even those who had a smaller circle of friends who lived far away benefited from those relationships.
Many other studies on friendship support the health benefits of forging these ties.
Sports Tourism: Recipe for a Healthy Life
The next time you consider joining that league or taking that active getaway, remember, it’s about more than the trip or the event. Participating in sports tourism events offers benefits beyond the physical – participation offers benefits for a healthy life.