The benefits of sport for our physical health are no news whatsoever. However, over the last years, it has been shown for us, by several research, that sport participation has a good influence on your mental health as well.
We all know how good it feels after we engaged in a sport activity, but is there something else than the good mood we get from running? Tevida, Let’s take it bit by bit and highlight the main advantages that sports have for our mental health.
- It puts us in a better mood
Are you feeling a bit down and want to get in a better mood? Don’t hesitate in get yourself involved in a physical activity. No matter if you’re playing some sports, taking a walk in the park or working out for a bit at your favorite gym, physical activity is always going to engage brain chemicals that turn you into a happy and more relaxed person.
Team sports are really special that way as they also bring the challenge that proves your current physical state. They also put in the equation the social benefits, giving you the chance to connect with your teammates and friends in a relaxed context.
- Sports reduce depression and stress
When you’re in the middle of playing a sport, your mind doesn’t get distracted by the typical stressors anymore. This is going to help you not to get down by all the negative thoughts. Sport activities are going to lower the level of stress hormones in your body, sustaining the production of endorphins at the same time. They lift up our mood in a natural way, keeping stress and depression at distance. Endorphins are also capable to help you feel more positive and relaxed after some difficult workout.
However, scientists agree that we need more research in order to discover the precise relationship between depression and sports.
- Sports help you concentrate
Working out on a regular basis is going to maintain your mental skills really sharp. Using good judgments, critical thinking, learning is going to stay in good shape when you’re playing some sports. It seems that a combination of aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities is going to mean a lot for your concentration abilities later on. Getting involved in this type of activity 3-5 times a week for 30 minutes or so is going to help you focus better later in life.
- Sports improve your self-esteem
Regular exercise that is determined by playing sports is going to increase your self-esteem and confidence. Your skills, strength and stamina do raise through playing various sports, which also leads to higher self-esteem. The extra energy and good vibes that come from physical activity are going to increase your rate of success for activities off the playing field too.
- Sports help you sleep better
Various forms of physical activity and sports are going to help you get a better sleep. You’re going to fall asleep easier and you’re going to stay deeply asleep for a longer time. Sleeping better is good for your mental health and your performances throughout the day.
However, there’s a catch with this. Keep in mind not to involve in sports too late in the day. A late sport activity (even a few hours before bedtime) is going to make you too energized for going to sleep easy.
- Sports are connected to leadership traits
Team sports (baseball, soccer, basketball and so many more) are able to grow grounds for useful leadership traits. Recent studies developed in high school have revealed a link between sports participation and leadership qualities.
A team sport creates the chance to win, try, lose together with your teammates so the people involved are ready to take a “team mindset” at work or in various social situations. The team mindset is going to build stronger leadership qualities in time.
- Sports keep you at a healthy weight
Even if this isn’t a mental benefit per se, it seems that sports participation is an effective wat to keep your weight. Cycling, weightlifting, running is great for burning calories/build muscles. Maintaining a healthy weight is going to keep diabetes, cholesterol or hypertension at bay. in addition, it also helps you feel good about yourself, which is related to your mental health.
Side note: The Benefits for children
Sports benefits not only the adults, but the children as well. The most important aspect to keep in mind that children that begin practicing sports at an early age are going to remain active throughout their life. Making part of a team is also going to improve their academic performances and keep them interested in school too.
What are the risks?
It’s quite common for team sports (ice hockey, American football) to lead to injuries. Sprains, broken limbs and contusions are quite frequent when playing some intense sports. Sometimes, the injuries are going to require proper medical attention in order to lead to a full recovery. Let’s not forget that some injuries (concussions, brain trauma) may lead to permanent and lifelong damage to the sport player.
Over the years, the occurrence of concussions has raised a lot, which only determined the specialist to release specific guidelines about how to stay away/recover from concussions. Repeated head trauma may cause depression, poor cognitive function and even suicidal behavior.
Another condition that many athletes may develop is the exercise-induced asthma. If you’re practicing a sport multiple times a week and start noticing the symptoms of this conditions, be aware and stay put. Learn about the breathing exercises and start practicing them too. They’re going to help you lower the risk for developing chronic asthma later on. Some medications before your exercises is going to put the asthma symptoms under control as well.
The final thought
There are many benefits that sports bring to the table and the connection between sports activities and mental health, good feel and better performances is more and more obvious. You shouldn’t sit on the fence, but simply pick a sport and start practicing it!
Don’t forget to have a chat with your doctor before you start practicing sports activity. Your heart should be able to take the strenuous exercises. Don’t rule out the risk for developing some injuries or exercise-induced asthma either.
Even if there are some risks when playing some sports, some are less dangerous than others. Go with a low-impact sport if you worry about the risk (swimming is one)- just do it!