a tradition reported by salamahibnal-akwa` stated that "the prophet passed by some people from the tribe of aslam while they were competing in archery (in the market). he said to them, 'shoot children ofisma'il, your father was a skilled marksman. shoot and i am with so and so.' one of the two teams therein stopped shooting. the prophet asked, 'why do not you shoot?' they answered, 'how could we shoot while you are with them (the other team). he then said, 'shoot and i am with you all.'" (al-bukhari)
this hadithwas mentioned in one of ibntaymiah's books, al-montaqa min akhbar al-mustafa, (chosen traditions from the news of the prophet) in a chapter entitled "urging archery" (al-qaradawi 21). undoubtedly, the sunnah encourages sports as a means to a healthy body.
furthermore, the prophet had always encouraged muslims to work, to be energetic, and to start their day early; all of which are conditions for a healthy body. he said "o allah, make the early morning hours blessed for my nation." (ahmed). he emphatically warned his companions of laziness and obesity. moreover, he used to seek refuge in allah from incapacity and indolence. he used to entrench the notion that a good practicing muslim should get up from sleep energetic and in good spirits (al-qaradawi 16).
the blessed messenger also stressed the importance of exercise for children and adults. he urged parents to teach their children sports, especially archery, swimming, and horseback riding. the prophet himself was engaged in sporting events. `a'ishah (may allah be pleased from her) said, "i raced with the prophet and i beat him. later when i had put on some weight, we raced again and he won. then he said, 'this cancels that (referring to the previous race)'" (al-bukhari). also muhammad ibn `ali ibnrukanah said, "rukanah wrestled with the prophet and the prophet won" (abu dawud). the prophet held a race between horses and gave the winner a prize. he also permitted tournaments in wrestling, spear play, and foot racing (al-qaradawi 16-17).