The benefits sports can have on mental wellbeing

In recent years with the Covid-19 pandemic, subsequent lockdowns and strains on everything from our finances to our personal lives and careers, the mental health of millions has been negatively affected. However, one slight silver lining is that it has meant that addressing mental health and wellbeing has become more commonplace and more people have been able to speak about their issues and share the ways they manage them.

One example that’s often used is sport. There are numerous studies and a variety of scientific and anecdotal evidence that sports (both the playing and social elements) can greatly boost and benefit our mental wellbeing.

Here’s just a few examples of how:

 

Relief from stress and depression

Exercise from playing sport, or the thrill of watching your favourite team can lead to a release of endorphins which can then help lower your stress levels and help reduce feelings of depression. According to the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine UK, there’s ‘strong evidence exists showing a 20-30% reduction in depression in adults who participate in physical activity daily’.

 

Better health

Continued exercise also has a prolonged benefit in that we physically get healthier and in get in better shape. As a result, this can psychologically improve our self-esteem and our overall self-image, making us feel more confident in our bodies as these physical changes take effect.

 

Social and team support

Playing sport with others can bring many social benefits both on and off the field of play. Whether it’s griding out a result with your football team, doing a run with friends, discussing the latest rugby results, sharing your thoughts online on fan forums about the latest tennis stars – and everything in between across all sports – it can provide a positive and wholesome sense of kinship and belonging.

 

Improved quality of sleep

 By having an active involvement in sport, you can also improve the quality of the sleep you get, which in turn makes us physically and mentally more rested. This is because you essentially tire yourself out more during your exercise which allows us to fall asleep and get into a deeper sleep much faster.

 

Getting involved

One of the best parts about sport is it’s something anyone can access, no matter what their ability levels – which means boosting your mental wellbeing through it is also something anyone can do. If you’re keen to get involved in a sport, or with a club or team, then a quick Google should draw up a list of opportunities near you. Alternatively, this useful ‘club finder’ from the BBC is a handy tool for tracking down the sporting activities you want to do.

 

About Lisa Baker, Editor, Wellbeing News 4429 Articles
Editor Lisa Baker is passionate about the benefits of a holistic approach to healing. Lisa is a qualified Vibrational Therapist and has qualifications in Auricular Therapy, Massage, Kinesiology, Crystal Healing, Seichem and is a Reiki Master.