Everybody already knows playing a sport is good for your body. But there’s more good news. Recent studies suggest playing a sport can positively affect your mental health as well. If you have stopped playing your favorite sport or are looking to pick up a new one, the following mental and physical health benefits might be what you need to give you that extra push.
- Playing sports reduce stress and depression
Getting stuck in a negative thought loop is detrimental to your mental health. The only way to get out of the vicious cycle is by exercising, or better still, playing a sport. The physical activity will keep your mind away from the stressors of life and reduce stress hormones in your body.
The body and the mind are inextricably linked. If you start working on one, the others will soon follow. Just by playing a sport, you force your body to move which releases endorphins in the bloodstream. This feel-good hormone gets you out of the rut and elevates your mood. Staying active and engaging your body and brain can also be your best defense against the onset of mental diseases like Alzheimer’s.
- Improves concentration and boosts confidence
Playing a sport requires a certain level of training and skill. When playing a group sport like baseball or soccer, you will want to get better to enjoy the game more and be respected for your skills by your peers. Practicing your game for three to five times a week for at least 30 minutes can improve your concentration and your game skills as well. This will ensure that you can think critically and use good judgment as you get better at assessing the game situations.
Furthermore, regular exercise that you get with sports boosts your confidence and self-esteem. There are certain games, like hockey, that require you to wear the appropriate safety equipment. Wearing helmets and pads will ensure that you are completely safe while playing. This allows you to focus on the game rather than on your fear of getting hit.
- Playing group sports socializes you
As humans are social creatures, most of our problems come from our self-imposed isolation and inactivity. Through sports, you get the chance of meeting with people with similar interest and make new friends. Although this is absolutely crucial that children do this, adults can benefit from this as well. Playing together will help you experience the highs and lows of the game that will further deepen the bonds of friendship and reveal the truth about your characters.
- Allows you to set goals and challenge yourself
Be it a collective goal or an individual one, playing a sport is all about setting a target and working towards it while efficiently dealing with the obstacles. People who play sports are mentally better equipped to deal with a variety of problems in life and constantly push their mental and physical limits.
Playing a sport is perhaps the best way to grow physically and mentally. Most people do not feel at home at a gym where they are required to do a repetitive task. Playing a sport, however, gets everyone up and about as it engages us on multiple levels.