Are you into sports? If yes, good for you! It doesn’t matter whether you’re swinging a baseball bat, running across the court to dribble a basketball, or aiming for a hole in one – all kinds of physical sports are beneficial to your physical health. But did you know that sports can also do wonders for mental health? Here is a number of sports-related mental benefits.
Physical activities like sports are known to be effective in boosting one’s mood. That’s because exercise maintains the levels of neurotransmitters inside the brain that regulate mood. It also promotes the production of endorphins, which are the mood-boosting chemicals in the brain. For this reason, physical activity has always been advised for people who are coping with depression and anxiety disorders. Sports also relieve muscle stress and tension, improving a person’s depression. Although sports cannot take the place of medical treatment for people suffering from depression, they can be an important part of a treatment plan to help manage the symptoms and prevent relapses.
Mental sports like chess are geared towards full brain workout but physical sports also stimulate the brain significantly. In every physical sport that you play, you need to use your mind to come up with a strategy that will help you win the game. For example, if you’re playing basketball, your brain will concoct all sorts of offensive and defensive strategies so you can effectively score points or protect the basketball from the opponent. If you’re playing hockey, you’ll need to figure out the most logical way to get the puck into the goal. Needless to say, sports aren’t all about muscles but also about brains.
Sports can provide you with the diversion you need so you don’t have to spend your entire day dwelling on your problems and stress. This is especially helpful for people who have depression tendencies. When you engage in a sport whether competitive or friendly, your mind is diverted from negative thoughts. And because serotonin is released during physical workout, it’s much easier to focus your mind on pleasant thoughts.
Interaction and Socialization
Other benefits of sports for your mental health are interaction and socialization. People who suffer from depression are known to withdraw themselves from their family and friends. When this happens, depression can get worse. Sports provide the human interaction that people need to prevent the onset or improve the symptoms of depression.
Choosing Sports Ideal for You
Choosing a particular sport that you’d love and enjoy is important to reap its benefits. You won’t be able to feel good about yourself if you feel like what you’re doing is a chore. It’s best that you choose something that fits your preference and capabilities. For example, if you’re the adventurous type, you’d probably be more interested in mountain climbing or downhill skiing than in golf. If you’re into group sports, you’d be fond of basketball, hockey, or volleyball. If you want something that would improve your focus and concentration, sports like archery are the ideal choice.