Want to tackle mental health issues? Sports can be your ‘daily dose of rejuvenation’.

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Playing a sport can also be a great stress buster

‘True wellness’ is the wellness of the body, mind and soul. And sports can play a vital role in fostering this true wellness.

Whether you walk, run, swim, go to the gym, play tennis/football, or simply throw a frisbee around in the park – it doesn’t matter. Sport or any kind of physical activity can be your ‘daily dose of rejuvenation’.

Yes, sport helps you get fitter, lose and maintain weight, and even boosts stamina. But that is not all. Sport can have numerous positive effects on one’s mental health as well.

Sport certainly has the ability to improve one’s mood and increase concentration. It can also help boost confidence and self-esteem. This is because of the ‘high’/the ‘euphoria’ that one feels after playing a sport, which is nothing but the production of feel-good, mood-enhancing brain chemicals called endorphins.

Sports also boost cognitive function in kids, which in turn, help with learning and other critical aspects of life. Studies show that children who participate in some form of sport are far more likely to stay active and fit when they grow older.

Playing a sport can also be a great stress buster. In fact, research proves that people who engage in sports regularly are less likely to experience symptoms of anxiety and depression. Studies in Australia have shown that participating in a sport 1-3 times a week reduces psychological distress by 34%. The same goes up to 46% when one plays a sport more than 4 times a week.

Depression in older adults is also significantly lower when they participate in some form of sport. The same holds true for women experiencing post-natal depression. Since there is a reciprocal relationship between social interaction and mental health, connecting with others, working in tandem them and adopting a ‘team mindset’ definitely promotes mental wellbeing. Playing a team sport stimulates camaraderie between people, gives one a sense of belonging within a larger group. This can be of immense help to people who suffer from loneliness-related mental issues and have problems fitting in. This ‘social benefit’ can, in fact, be considered as one of the most significant mental-health benefits of sports.

Competitive sport can be a tough ballgame for professional athletes. But that is where the concept of ‘mental toughness’ comes into play, which is nothing but the development of psychological skills required to build resilience and adopt a positive attitude. Resilience, in fact, is now considered a key character trait in building ‘emotional intelligence’, which is basically the ability to control one’s emotions and handle inter-personal relationships well.

Whether one plays sport for recreation or as a professional, it is a ‘wellness mantra’ for both – the body and mind.

Source: – The Economic Times

By: – Neerja Birla

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