and Cultural Aspects of Sport
Traditionally, sport was an essential part of human life.
However, today, sport plays increasingly more important role
since people grow more and more concerned with their health
and body shape. At the same time, the existing interest of
people in regard to sport is not a tribute to a tradition,
but it is rather a modern trend which is widely promoted via
mass media, to the extent that it is possible to speak about
sport as a kind of fashion. In this respect, it is worth mentioning
the fact that sport in the contemporary society could be viewed
rather as a trendy activity than a part of a traditional culture
because a few decades ago sport was just a kind of entertainment,
while today it is a part of an active lifestyle. Moreover,
the growing interest to sport is, to a significant extent,
determined by the progressing significance and popularity
of the healthy lifestyle since, today, people are willing
to be healthy above all, while a few decades ago people paid
little attention to their health and the consumption of alcohol,
drugs, cigarettes, etc. was a norm. In fact, the contemporary
society tends to change a traditional lifestyle and develop
a new, healthy lifestyle. In such a context, sport is promoted
by media as the major tool with the help of which people can
really improve their health and their physical shape. However,
in spite of the impact of media, views of people on sport
and sport exercises can vary consistently depending on the
gender of an individual that makes it possible to view sport
as a gender-distinguishable activity.
On analyzing the current development of sport, its role in
the modern society and views of people on sport, it is important
to underline a significant social and cultural role sport
plays in the modern society. In actuality, sport constitutes
an essential part of the modern culture and the number of
health and fitness clubs, strength training rooms, etc. is
growing progressively. At the same time, the growth of health
and fitness club and other facilities where people can practice
sport activities is determined by the growing demand on such
services. In fact, people are extremely concerned with their
health and they are willing attend various fitness clubs or
even practice sport professionally because they associate
strongly sport with health.
On the other hand, the current environment and lifestyle also
stimulate people to practice sport. For instance, many of
those people who attend strength training room remark that
they spend their life “working in the office and sitting
on a couch”. In such a context, sport is the only or,
at least, the main way to make the lifestyle of modern people
more active. What is meant here is the fact that due to the
development of modern technologies, the progress of human
society, cultural changes led to the dramatic changes in the
lifestyle of modern people, which have little in common with
a natural lifestyle of a human being (Free and Hughson, 2006).
What is meant here is the fact that modern people lead a sedative
lifestyle since, while they work in an office, they are deprived
of an opportunity to exercise any substantial physical activities,
while coming home they do not need make any significant physical
efforts (Petersen, 1996). Moreover, even while going from
home to work and from work to home, people do not make any
substantial physical efforts since they use their cars or
other transport. In such a way, the sedative lifestyle in
a combination with unhealthy nutrition contributes to the
deterioration of health and lead to such problems as obesity,
cardio-vascular diseases and others.
In such a situation, the active promotional campaign in the
modern media concerning the necessity to practice sport is
very important. Moreover, many people who attend fitness clubs
and strength training rooms agree that it is media that make
them attend sport facilities. For instance, one of the interviewed
respondents has remarked that she attends a fitness club because
she wants to be “like those stars, who are always in
the excellent shape and just radiate energy and health”.
Another interviewed person, being in his late thirties, said
he had decided to visit a strength training because he admired
Arnold Schwarzenegger and, as he said, “as I watched
his rippled muscles I always wondered whether there is a limit
to human capabilities and why so many people are wasting their
life sitting with a can of beer and chewing their hamburger,
instead of going to a strength training room as I do now”.
Hence, it is obvious that the mass media is a powerful tool
which make people attend fitness clubs, strength training
rooms and other facilities where they can exercise sport.
However, the pop or movies stars as well as media at large
are not the only reason why people are practicing sport. For
instance, an interviewed woman who attends a fitness club
states that she gets used to attend the fitness club and practice
various exercise together with her friends. Moreover, she
said that “it was of the friends of mine who had been
attending this fitness club for a few weeks. She was so excited
about all these exercises and the staff that she just forced
me to join her”. In this respect, it should be said
that this case is not exceptional since women often prefer
to practice sport in groups. For instance, they enjoy various
aerobic activities in groups (Leeds and Von Allmen, 2003).
As for men, they interests and preferences are a bit different.
For instance, a man attending a strength training room stated
that his decision to practice sport was his own decision,
which he made when he was about fifteen. Moreover, people
practicing sport in a strength training room, who are men
mainly, prefer individual training to any kind of group work.
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible
to conclude that sport plays a very significant role in the
life of modern people. On the one hand, the interest of people
to sport may be determined by various factors and sports and
activities they are practicing and interested in may vary
depending on an individual and such factors as gender may
be determinant in this regard. On the other hand, sport is
an essential element of the contemporary culture and, what
is more, it is a very significant activity which is perceived
by people as an essential element of a healthy lifestyle.
In fact, people closely associates sport with the concept
of health and a healthy lifestyle often implies practicing
Free, M. and J. Hughson. (2006). “Common culture, commodity
fetishism and the cultural contradictions of sport.”
International Journal of Cultural Studies, Vol. 9, No. 1,
Leeds, G. and B. Von Allmen. (2003). The Economics of Sports.
New York: New Publishers.
Petersen, D. C. (1996). Sports, Convention, and Entertainment
Facilities. Washington, DC: Urban Land Institute.