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Physical Activity and Sports—Real Health Benefits: A Review with Insight into the Public Health of Sweden

1
Sports Medicine Unit, Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Umeå University, 901 87 Umeå, Sweden
2
Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, Karolinska Institutet, 171 77 Solna, Sweden
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sports 2019, 7(5), 127; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7050127
Received: 8 April 2019 / Revised: 15 May 2019 / Accepted: 21 May 2019 / Published: 23 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Intersection of Sport, Physical Activity and Human Health)
Positive effects from sports are achieved primarily through physical activity, but secondary effects bring health benefits such as psychosocial and personal development and less alcohol consumption. Negative effects, such as the risk of failure, injuries, eating disorders, and burnout, are also apparent. Because physical activity is increasingly conducted in an organized manner, sport’s role in society has become increasingly important over the years, not only for the individual but also for public health. In this paper, we intend to describe sport’s physiological and psychosocial health benefits, stemming both from physical activity and from sport participation per se. This narrative review summarizes research and presents health-related data from Swedish authorities. It is discussed that our daily lives are becoming less physically active, while organized exercise and training increases. Average energy intake is increasing, creating an energy surplus, and thus, we are seeing an increasing number of people who are overweight, which is a strong contributor to health problems. Physical activity and exercise have significant positive effects in preventing or alleviating mental illness, including depressive symptoms and anxiety- or stress-related disease. In conclusion, sports can be evolving, if personal capacities, social situation, and biological and psychological maturation are taken into account. Evidence suggests a dose–response relationship such that being active, even to a modest level, is superior to being inactive or sedentary. Recommendations for healthy sports are summarized. View Full-Text
Keywords: youth; adolescent; elderly; quality of life; relative age effect; exercise; strength and conditioning youth; adolescent; elderly; quality of life; relative age effect; exercise; strength and conditioning
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Malm, C.; Jakobsson, J.; Isaksson, A. Physical Activity and Sports—Real Health Benefits: A Review with Insight into the Public Health of Sweden. Sports 2019, 7, 127.

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