Nina Jacques  

How Sports Can Help Mental Well-Being

Research shows that sports can help increase muscle strength, improve cardiovascular health, and even increase testosterone. But a recent study found that sports also do wonders for your mental health as well. Researchers found that taking part in sports helped improve mood, self-esteem, and social well-being among participants. And the benefits of sports go far beyond mental well-being; studies have found that sports participation can help keep diseases at bay, decrease the likelihood of injury, and even improve academic performance.

Sports can be a fantastic way to boost your self-esteem and mental health. For many people, taking part in sports gives a sense of camaraderie that only like-minded people can understand. Some sports even allow you to become part of a team, where winning and losing are less important than becoming better together. Here we will look at the positive effects that sport can have on our mental health.

Positive Effects of Sports on Mental Health

Produce long-term mental health effects

When looking at the mental health effects of different leisure activities, not all sports are created equal. In a study published last month, researchers looked at the relationship between the mental health-related effects of different types of sports and participants’ ages. They found that, on average, individuals who played sports when they were younger had better mental health in their late adulthood.

Boost mental health with team sports

While school-based sports programs are popping up more and more in schools, the benefits of team sports for mental health and overall academic performance are still largely understudied. In recent years there has been growing evidence documenting the benefits of sports for young people. Research suggests that participation in team sports can help prevent depression, anxiety, suicide, and other mental health conditions.

Help fight addiction and depression 

Sports and activities such as running, swimming, and playing with a team can help fight addiction and depression. It was once thought that exercise was linked to increased endorphins, which can help suppress pain and addiction relapse. However, scientists have also found that mentally challenging sports can also be beneficial.

Improve severe mental disorders

New research suggests that serious mental disorders such as depression and schizophrenia can be improved through playing or being involved in sports. “For most of these disorders, there is generally a genetic component,” said study author Dr Magdalena Cerda, a professor of psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “Although scientists still don’t understand the mechanisms, because the brain is complex, we think it is likely that a combination of genetic and environmental factors are involved.” The research, published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, found that, among a group of more than 400 adults, those who played sports were more likely to report better mental health.

Negative Effects of Sports on Mental Health

Many physical abilities and talents that athletes learn at a young age are carried over into their adult lives. However, as athletes mature, so do their mental faculties. Although many athletes attribute their occupational success to their athletic skills, athletes often face athletic repercussions later in life. More specifically, the mental and emotional stress of sports can cause several problems. These problems include depression, anxiety, substance abuse, eating disorders, and suicide.

Sport has the power to heal. No matter what kind of sport you participate in, the benefits are endless. Sport provides an outlet for stress, improves your physical fitness, increases your self-confidence, improves your memory, and the list goes on. In today’s society, stress is a problem. A sport like swimming provides an outlet for stress while giving you a chance to relax, learn some breathing techniques, and improve your overall health and physical fitness.

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