Aviva Directory » Sports & Recreation

Sports and recreational activities help to improve the overall health of the individual, as well as to develop skills and abilities.

Sports refers to activities that use exertion or skills competitively, under a set of rules that are not based on aesthetics, while recreation can refer to any activity that amuses, diverts, or stimulates the body or mind.

Sports are physical activities or games that are competitive and organized, either loosely or rigidly, providing enjoyment and, in the case of professional sports, an income to participants. Sports may also provide entertainment to spectators. Through casual or organized participation, sports may also improve the physical health of participants.

Hundreds of sports exist, some of which include single participants, while others may include hundreds, competing in teams or as individuals. Some sports allow for a tie or a draw, in which there is no single winner, while others have built-in tie-breaking methods to ensure a single winner. In some sports, there is one winner and everyone else is a loser or a non-winning participant, while others allow for multiple placements, such as first place, second place, and so on. A set number of contests may be arranged in a tournament, yielding a champion, and sports leagues may arrange games in a regular sports season, sometimes followed by playoffs.

Sports are commonly recognized as requiring physical athleticism or physical dexterity in order to successfully compete, although the extent will vary greatly from sport to sport. Bowling and pool, for example, do not require a great deal of athleticism, although physical skills are involved.

While some organizations, such as the Council of Europe, do not consider games or activities that lack a significant physical aspect to be a sport, others, such as the International Olympic Committee, recognize certain games as mind sports, including chess and bridge.

Sports are usually governed by specified rules or customs that serve to ensure fair competition and allow for a process of recognizing a winner.

Many sports include professional, semi-professional, and amateur modes, in which professional and semi-professional participants are compensated by either wages, a salary, or by prize money. The popularity of spectator sports has led to many sports games becoming major businesses. For example, the average salary for a player in Major League Baseball was more than four million US dollars in 2022, while the highest-paid players earned more than forty million per year.

While sports games provide recreation, any activity undertaken for amusement, enjoyment, or pleasure may be considered recreation. Recreation is generally considered to be fun.

It is difficult, and perhaps unnecessary, to separate recreation from the idea of play, which is the term that children usually use to refer to recreational activities. Children's play often reflects the realities of adult life and might be considered as being practiced for life as an adult. The difficulty in differentiation sometimes comes about because work is often pleasurable, and may also be undertaken voluntarily. Several activities might be considered work for one person and recreation for another.

Recreation is an essential part of life, and may include activities developed from an individual's interests, as well as through social expectations. Recreational activities may be solitary or shared, active or passive, indoors or outdoors, healthy or harmful, or either useful or harmful to society. Some recreational activities, such as recreational drug use, may violate laws, societal norms, and responsible living patterns.

Recreational activities may be considered hobbies, games, outdoor recreation, or the performing arts, and may be undertaken informally. However, many recreational activities are organized by government institutions, educational institutions, community organizations, or private groups supported by grants, membership fees, or commercial enterprises. Municipalities often create recreation centers that offer and provide facilities for various activities, such as swimming, skating, weightlifting, or various sports games. While commonly offered for area youth, many recreation centers include activities for adults, as well.

In support of recreational activities, governments (at several levels) have taken on a significant role in the creation, maintenance, and organization of recreation, and a large private recreation industry develops recreational products and services.

Various sports and recreational activities are part of this section of our guide, and others may be added in the future. Additionally, sports and recreational organizations and associations may be represented here.




Ball Games



Coaching & Training




Extreme Sports





Martial Arts




Organizations & Associations




Racquet/Paddle Games





Table Games

Track & Field

Water Sports

Winter Sports



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