Intersecting Neuroscience with sports

Sports have become an established institution in our society and hold various functions in the lives of the people. Much of the action in sports is seen during play as it arouses excitement from both the players and the viewers. However, there is much more to sports than just the mere masculinity and skills of its players. As seen in sports like boxing, it takes more than just gargantuan muscles to win a game. A complex coordination of the reflexes, proper skills and appropriate timing is involved not just in boxing but in various sports as well.

The players and the viewers all have something in common as they participate in sports… Their emotions and actions is a byproduct of an intricate process that involves millions of neurons. This process if often overlooked as one takes part in a game either watching from a television set and a bench or doing the action on the field, court or ring. For the purpose of this paper I will discuss into detail the processes that are involved in such activities. Sports like any other form of exercise stimulate the sensory and motor nerves as well as the brain because the circulation of blood is distributed to all the parts of the body.

Regularity in exercise enhances the stability of the nervous system. This gives the body balance, good coordination and quicker reflexes. This explains the need for a player to have proper training before getting involved in sports for him or her to achieve his maximum potential. In certain sports that test the endurance of a player such as marathon run, it is deemed necessary for a player to undergo training so as to stimulate his blood circulation, thus further improving his sensory and motor nerves (Islam, 2003).

These nerves are found in the nervous system. It is a specialized network of tissues that control center of the body and enables it to do its specific functions. Actions such as throwing a ball or punching an opponent entail specific nerves to do their job properly for the action to be executed with the least amount of error. Coordinating the activity of the muscles, monitoring the organs, constructs or stops the input from the senses and initiating actions are some of the detailed functions of this system.

Homeostasis maintenance and regulation are also functions of the nervous system in coordination with the endocrine system. During exercise and training, the nerves sends impulses to the brain indicating which areas where damage and in need of repair. The endocrine system then instructs certain cells to do their specific functions to repair every single part that can be repaired. The brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves are the organs and tissues that form this system.

The basic components of the nervous system are: Glial cells, trillions of supporting cells that are collectively known as glia; and the nerve cells or neurons which are more than 3 billion in number. These cells compose every tiny part of the nervous system. It also responsible for discernment internal and external conditions in the outside world and the response our body to it. The two main partition of the brain are the peripheral and the central nervous systems. It consists of the brain and the spinal cord.

The former is protected by the skull and the later is by the spinal cord. Membranes also called meninges and cerebrospinal fluid protects the brain and the spinal cord. The CNS or the Central Nervous System relays information to all body parts and instructs them what to do based upon the nerve impulses that these external organs has transmitted. These nerve impulses given by the external and internal stimuli are then received by the sensory neurons, a highly specialized form of receptor. Motor neurons on the other hand are responsible for the control of the muscle activities.

The motor neurons are put on use especially in sports that greatly involves the use of strength and body while sensory neurons are involved in sports wherein a player is needed to exhibit satisfactory reflexes and balance such as gymnastics. When it comes to the skeletal muscles, it is the somatic nervous system that controls it. These muscles are the onces responsible for bodily movements. The autonomic nervous system or (ANS) transmits certain messages between the Central Nervous systems and the internal organs of the body.

These messages differ in occurrence in accordance to the need of the body. As the physical activity increases, the need for the organs to hasten their rate of activity so as to support the requirements of the body also increases. These activities are mainly of the involuntary organs that ensure the flow of nutrients of the body. As stated in the above paragraphs, sports that require a great deal of endurance requires tedious trainings so as to control the ANS and more efficiently facilitate the functions of these internal organs.

The above paragraphs showed the different nerves that are responsible for certain body functions as one gets acquainted with sports. Moreover, it is evident that proper training is needed for a player to further hone his skills. Training on the other hand is not limited to physical activities but also those that heighten ones reflexes and responses to certain stimuli. It takes more than just muscles to win where the nervous system takes much of the credit. In our changing society, much of the sports do not only require strength but also impressive skills that entails coordination, balance, endurance and etc.

It is therefore necessary for one to know exactly what is responsible for his responses and actions during play for him to practice his maximum utility as a player and as an individual.


Encyclopedia of Psychology, 2007. Nervous System. Date Retrieved, April 24, 2007. http://findarticles. com/p/articles/mi_g2699/is_0002/ai_2699000236 Islam, M. M. 2003. Relationship Between Balance, Functional Fitness, and Daily physical activity in older adults. Asian Journal of Exercise and Sports Sciences

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