The Mental Benefits of Sport – Part 1
There are many reasons why people take up playing sport, whether you want to keep fit, spend time outdoors with friends and family, or just to enjoy competition. It is well known that participating in sport is great at so many levels. Concerning the health aspect of sport then nobody can argue that keeping fit with regular exercise is definitely a good thing to do. But what is sometimes ignored are the mental benefits that are associated with playing sports and in this blog we look at some of them.
Improve Your Mood
If you want to get some real R&R with a burst of happiness attached, then taking up a sport is the answer. Getting involved in physical activity is superb for improving your mood. It does not matter if you go to the gym, take your dog out for a brisk walk, or climb a mountain. Physical exercise has been proved to trigger chemicals in your brain that make you feel happier and more at ease. Especially team sports that allow you to engage in camaraderie with your fellow team mates. Sports are also of great social benefit, and often opportunities before and after of getting together give you the chance to meet new friends and develop relationships.
Sport Can Improve Your Concentration
There are many sports that need your undivided attention, and make you concentrate one hundred percent on what you are doing. This has different advantages to the player, firstly it gives you a chance to forget about work and any other external problems. Secondly playing sport regularly keeps your mental skills at a high level. You have to be able to make decisions, go through critical thought processes, and be able to use good judgment. There has been research done on this subject and the findings were that a blend of muscle-strengthening activities together with aerobic activity is especially beneficial.
Sport Can Cut Depression and Reduce Stress
As we touched on before, when your mind is occupied with playing sport it is less likely to be thinking of other things. And this can prevent you thinking too deeply about something and have negative thoughts. Again, it has been proved that exercise reduces the level of stress hormones in your body as well as increasing pleasurable endorphins. Endorphins are great mood lifters, that make you feel happy. They are associated with good feelings and are great at reducing stress and keeping depression at bay. It is no coincidence that you always feel better after a match or a good workout.
Sports Aid Sleep
Nobody ever feels top notch if they are deprived of sleep, lack of sleep is so bad for you on so many levels and makes you grumpy and irritable. Physical activity and sport will improve your quality of sleep, you will fall asleep faster into a contented deep sleep. Waking refreshed in the morning by a deep sleep will improve your mood, make you more attentive and feeling refreshed. The only thing to watch out for is not to exercise too late in the day, you may be too energized to sleep at all. We conclude the mental benefits of sport in part two of this blog.