Reason 7: Longevity
Preventing ageing or at least staving off the effects of ageing is a motivation for many to be physically active. The process of ageing is irreversible and non-stoppable. But it is also amazing and inspiring to see how people who continue to participate in sports are fitter and with a more juvenile appearance than much younger individuals with a more sedentary lifestyle.
Reason 8: Pain Reduction
It is a very frequent experience, that many ailments and pains get better after a while with a targeted and balanced training program. Training exercises can also be helpful for restoring functionality after and injury.
Reason 9: Recreation
Even strenuous physical exercise can be experienced as a mental relaxation, for somebody who has to mentally concentrate and perform at work. If the workout takes place outside, this refreshing experience might be even stronger.
Reason 10: Socialise
Camaraderie, congregate in groups, social interaction, support, parental, family, peer support, imitation, social networks. Sports is a very popular place for people to come together and have some fun.
Reason 11: Competition
Compete to win. Because of all the other benefits of sports there is a saying that participation comes before winning. But for ambitious personalities out-performing themselves and others, winning, be the number one in a discipline comes at the very top of the list of their reasons to do sport.
Reason 12: Sense of Achievement
Reaching any of the goals on this list gives us a sense of achievement and proudness. And because there are so many combinations and prioritisations among these goals, sports is a great way to experience it for almost everyone. All it takes is to make up your mind and start moving.
Reason 13: Prestige
Achieving some of the goals on this list can lead to social recognition and prestige, at least in certain more popular or spectacular disciplines. Successful sportsmen can gain popularity through presence in the media. They often have a high status in society as role models especially for the youth.
Reason 14: Fun
Participating in many sport activity comes with positive emotions. Excitement, satisfaction, enjoyment, stimulation, good vibrations. They are one of the strongest reinforcements to stay motivated in the long term.
Reason 15: Curiosity
Reason 16: Happiness
Sport is physical activity. But it is never physical only. Most if not all sportive activity will involve the complete human being which is always a mental, physical and spiritual unity. In western traditions the spiritual aspect of physical activity is mostly neglected. Because this is highly culture and tradition dependent we will not go further into this direction here and subsume spiritual goals under self development, happiness or possibly other motivations.
Reason 17: Entertainment
Entertaining yourself and others is an age old human activity and most sportive activities are usually quite attractive and entertaining for others especially when they are performed by highly advanced and competent athletes. This is obvious for performing artists. Some top athletes like Roger Federer or Usain Bold can compete at the top level of their discipline and still find time to entertain the audience with a funny trick which has nothing to do with the seriousness of their performance. Weightlifting was and is always a great spectacle for many and is still frequently performed on public places, circuses or variety shows to entertain the spectactors. Figure skating is as much a sport discipline as it is an artistic performance in the same time. Other performing arts are less directly based on sports disciplines but still based on a high level of physical activity. Many athletes would not define their purpose to be entertainers, but they use entertainment to finance their activity. Exercise for the sake of exercise is sometimes mentioned as another goal for participating in a sport and some trainers mention it as a rather senseless justification because exercise should always make sense and have some reasonable outcome in their view. We subsume this goal in self entertainment. Assuming that nobody does participate in a regular activity without any reason. Playing around with sports simply to be not bored might not be very reasonable but it is certainly not the worst alternative to boredom.
Reason 18: Money
Professional sport and performing art is a somewhat different story. The professional athlete pursues his sport to earn an income. I would assume, that his primary motivation will come from the list below and the aspect of earning money comes after that.
These days some parents might nudge their kids to participate in soccer and tennis or bring them to the golf course with a financial motivation. They might hope they might end up as successful professionals and it could turn out to be a profitable investment of their time too. Some kids get really good in each discipline and some disciplines open the doors for lucrative jobs too. But I am quite sure, that money will not be part of the motivation which actually makes the kid participate voluntarily and asking to come back for a regular training in any sport. Once an athlete turns his hobby into a profession as coach, athlete, artist, sports manager, … a part of his sport activity turns into work. For the purpose of our definition of sport as a non-work related physical activity only the other part will remain sport activity. As mentioned earlier, the distinction made by the definition does not satisfy this case fully.
Reason 19: Extrinsic Motivation
Not everybody has the same level of self motivation. And not everybody engages in sports out of his own drive and determination to do so. During childhood and adolescence extrinsic motivation can play an important role, where everybody is more or less obliged to participate in mandatory sports activities. The main goal for the coaches in this period should be to help adolescents find their own purpose to continue participating in sports voluntarily.