This topic was raised a few years ago in regards to marathon running. At the time I thought this was a stupid question; of course sports are healthy, they keep you fit and are beneficial for overall well-being.
However, in the last few months I have questioned my earlier opinion. I have been involved in sports for over ten years and I love them, pretty much all of them, but for about the last five years I have struggled with remaining free of illness and injury. This was starting to drag down my morale as I could not nail down what was causing these regular illnesses. The intense training that I was being put through was breaking me down and when I got ill it took much longer than normal to rebuild itself. Eventually, after a long break from sport specific training, I came to the conclusion that it was the training that I was doing in order to compete in a sport that was increasing my chances of getting ill. For the last six or so months I have slowly transitioned from training specifically to compete in a sport over to training to remain healthy. Since this change I have been less ill and as a result have felt much better about myself.
Of course I am still able to push myself and enjoy the occasional competition of some description, but being able to remain healthy has now become the main goal. I will still be training for some specific events, such as the occasional charity run, but as I am no longer training for a specific sport I can mix up the exercises that I am doing – this will allow my body to stay on top of what I throw at it.
No doubt I will miss training for a specific sport, I may even change my mind again and go back to training for competition, but for now the priority is being healthy.