Home Commentary The Mental Health Benefits Of Playing Sports

The Mental Health Benefits Of Playing Sports

by Sarah Kaminski
0 comment

According to the World Health Organization, mental health conditions are increasing worldwide, even among children and adolescents. There has also been a rise in substance use disorders. And even if some mental health issues are not medically diagnosable, almost every person in the world is sometimes exposed to extremely stressful situations.

While it’s essential to consult mental health experts for treatment, there are also ways to improve your overall mental wellbeing. Many studies have proven the positive effects of physical exercise on mental health. Let’s see what those benefits are and how you can make the most out of them.

Reducing Moderate Stress

We’re living in stressful times, and this was true even before the pandemic.

Physical activity encourages your body to release endorphins — the chemicals in charge of relieving stress and pain. It also lowers the levels of adrenaline and cortisol, otherwise known as stress hormones.

Exercise in almost any form can help reduce stress — the trick is to choose the activities that suit you best. Moderate exercises, such as walking, running, and yoga, are all good options for beginners. If you need to blow off some steam, you can try something more upbeat, like kickboxing.

Keeping Your Mind Sharp

A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine proved that moderate exercise can help keep the mind sharp, and it’s especially important for older adults. But this applies to younger individuals as well, being that physical activity helps the brain obtain a greater supply of oxygen.

Some sports can be particularly useful for improving focus and mental abilities. Golf, for instance, is a sport that requires focus, mental strength, and physical ability. In addition, maintaining your golf cart and all your equipment is another aspect of enjoying golf that can keep your mind busy and thoroughly focused.

Boosting Your Mood

Exercise can have an immediate positive impact on your mood. If you are feeling down or you simply can’t stop the intrusive and racing thoughts, even moderate physical activity can help clear your mind and provide you with a more positive outlook on life. This is especially the case with cardio exercise, which helps instantly release endorphins and improve your sense of wellbeing.

Helping You Sleep Better

Physical activity influences sleep on both mental and physical levels.

Physically demanding exercises tire you out, making you fall asleep easily at the end of the day. Working out not only reduces pre-sleep anxiety by distracting you from negative thoughts but also triggers the processes in your brain that enable more restful sleep.

Additionally, outdoor exercise reinforces a healthy circadian rhythm. Aerobic exercises and cardio are particularly helpful in promoting regular sleep, while resistance training and yoga are associated with better sleep quality.

While there is no one-size-fits-all recipe, it’s never a good idea to engage in strenuous exercise right before bedtime. It is believed that exercising in the morning is best for getting a good night’s sleep.

Increasing Self-Confidence

Several studies suggest that sports can contribute to the development and improvement of self-esteem. This includes having a better perception of oneself as well as being better socially adjusted and generally happier about one’s life.

First of all, physical activity improves body structure, which helps with your body image. In team sports, it is possible to boost self-esteem through relationships. Finally, depending on the type of sport and the level of participation, there can be recognition and praise tied to it, which can result in a positive perception of self-worth.

Fighting Addiction

According to an article published in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology, adolescents who engage in team sports are less likely to smoke cigarettes and use cannabis. Also, many addiction treatment centers include physical activity to help people battling substance abuse. Exercise can benefit recovery through all the health benefits as well, such as stress reduction and improved sleep. Regular movement can also prevent relapse.

Helping with Depression and Mental Disorders

While sports should in no way be used as an alternative to prescribed treatments for depression and mental disorders, they can help in treating such conditions. Regular exercise is particularly useful for people with mild or moderate depression. It can also be helpful for those suffering from mental disorders such as schizophrenia by improving some of the symptoms like thinking abilities and loss of motivation.

Enabling Long-Term Mental Health Effects

Participating in sports can build a strong mind and produce long-term mental health benefits. This type of physical activity promotes healthy behaviors that could stay with you forever. The brain-related benefits (focus, cognitive abilities, etc.) also last as you age. Team sports have been linked to better social and leadership skills. Some researchers suggest that children who participated in team sports had better mental wellbeing when they grew up.

Final Word

While any type of sports can boost your mood, reduce stress, and help you sleep better, the key is to choose the one that suits you. Sports should be something you enjoy. Otherwise, the effects could be the opposite, and it could be difficult for you to find the motivation to play your chosen sport regularly. So, find a sport you’ll love playing, make the time for it, and make it a part of your lifestyle. You’ll experience the benefits almost instantly.

Sarah Kaminski

Sarah Kaminski

Hi I’m Sarah Kaminski, a freelance writer and social media marketer. I work with a number of small businesses to build their brands through more engaging marketing and content.
I am delighted to share my thoughts here on CaribDirect and hope they resonate with you. Please let me know what you think of my posts and provide suggestions on topics you would like me to cover.
Twitter – @SarahKaminski10


You may also like

Leave a Comment

Copyright © 2024 CaribDirect.com | CaribDirect Multi-Media Ltd | CHOSEN CHARITY Caribbean New Frontier Foundation (CNFF) Charity #1131481

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy