Physical and Mental Health – Practising sport continuously and moderately provides numerous benefits for physical and psychological health. Maintaining an active life contributes to the prevention, development and rehabilitation of health and establishing mental well-being and increasing our quality of life.
Physical activity is a very effective harmonizing aid for preventing and treating psychological imbalances. We can say broadly that it improves the person’s autonomy, memory, and mental agility and promotes feelings such as optimism or euphoria while enhancing self-esteem. All these benefits for our mental health make Sport a necessary and beneficial activity.
Table of Contents
Ten benefits of Sport to improve mental and emotional health:
1. Release the hormones of happiness
Endorphins, released by the brain during and after exercise, guide us to more critical happiness and emotional well-being. It is highly recommended for those suffering from depression or anxiety as it helps reduce the symptoms of sadness, provides a sense of relaxation, and positively impacts a person’s quality of life.
It doesn’t matter if you run, swim or play any sport. The important thing is to combat a sedentary lifestyle that can degenerate into coronary or neurovascular diseases. However, to notice the powerful benefits of Sport. It is necessary to have some perseverance and practice it at least three times a week.
2. Relieves and reduces stress
Accomplishing any physical activity is a healthy and effective way to unwind after work. In addition, by practising sports, we also increase the production of norepinephrine, whose functions include the moderation of our brain’s response to stressful situations. In this sense, the stress response would be balanced by feelings of tranquillity and well-being.
3. Improve social relationships
Performing any physical exercise in the company is a way to encourage and motivate each other. It is another moment you can share with friends that will inspire you to continue this good practice for your health.
If the gym is your sports sanctuary, numerous social activities carried out in these centres for its users. Likewise, the guided activities offered in most of them also allow meeting new people with similar interests in terms of health.
An improvement in emotional state and self-esteem leads to better management of social relationships. When we feel good, we project a sense of admiration to those around us and are better able to engage and engage socially.
4. Increases self-esteem
One of the reasons many people start an exercise routine is a physical change that comes from consistency. A more defined body translates into a better self-image and, therefore, increased self-esteem. The perception of oneself changes gradually, and together with a better state of mind, self-esteem levels inevitably rise by increasing self-confidence.
5. Relieves anxiety
The effects of Sport on brain chemistry act during and after activity. In cases of pressure, the scientific literature has shown that Sport is beneficial in relieving some of its most disabling symptoms.
Swimming is a physically very complete sport that allows us to release tension and relax, all at the same time. In addition, it reduces some of the symptoms of anxiety, such as muscle pain and acts against insomnia.
To combat acute or chronic anxiety states, it’s recommended to practice oriental sports that promote relaxation, such as Taichi, Yoga, Bodymind and Pilates. In which the body and mind are taken care of, offering resources such as breathing management to learn to control reactions to the adversities of daily life.
6. Improve our behaviour
Sports help us reinforce our values and behaviour based on our choices and the right attitude. We must have respect for ourselves and others (rivals, referees, etc.). This is what is called fair play. It implies abiding by certain competition rules as well as learning to win and lose.
Other factors that reinforce our positive behaviour are teamwork, camaraderie, commitment and courage. Essential to be a good player.
7. Slows down and prevents cognitive decline
Age is a decisive factor in cases of cognitive impairment and the development of neurodegenerative diseases. Science has once again shown that physical activity, especially in youth and adulthood, increases the chemical substances in the brain that prevent the degeneration of neurons in the hippocampus, an area affected by dementias.
Aerobic exercises such as walking, swimming or pedalling regularly and constantly are the physical activities most associated with better mental functioning. In the specific case of Alzheimer’s, its appearance can be prevented or delayed with physical exercise, which also helps prevent its progression. The result is improved physical, mental and cognitive health, essential for people with chronic conditions.
Other studies have concluded that regular exercise increases life expectancy and decreases the suffering of diseases typical of this stage of life, given the cardiovascular protective effect.
8. Increased memory
Sport stimulates the hippocampus area, whose primary functions are memory and learning. In this sense, the retention of information, the teaching of new vocabulary or even a new language would benefit from the practice of Sport.
9. Combat sleep disorders: insomnia and drowsiness
Sleep is necessary for human beings, and it is equivalent to almost a third of our life. When we sleep, the body makes physiological changes required to recover from daily activity.
Insomnia is the most widespread sleep disorder in our society; due to the rhythm of life, it causes more and more people to have trouble sleeping. Sport allows us to fall asleep quickly by combating stress and relieving anxiety.
Several studies have shown that daytime sleepiness was lower in physically active people. If you have problems with sleepiness, practising physical activity in moderation will allow you to enjoy better quality sleep to be more alert during the day.
10. Helps control addictions
For people addicted to tobacco or alcohol, physical exercise is an excellent ally in learning to control their addictions. Why? Our brain releases the same neurotransmitters as when we take those substances. Our brain releases dopamine (the reward neurotransmitter). Practising exercise can also help restart the biological clock, whose function affected by addictive substances harmful to our physical and mental health.