How Playing Sports Can Improve Your Mental Health
It may be obvious that sports will benefit your physical health, but you may be surprised to find out that sports will help your mental health just as much.
Here are some ways that playing sports can help improve your mental health:
So imagine, your at your local basketball court playing some pick-up with your friends. You play a little and start goofing around and bantering as you usually do, but as the scoreline gets closer, things are starting to get more serious. Soon you find yourself completely immersed in the game of pick-up and all that's on your mind is the game. When you find yourself immersed in the fun physical activity we call sports, your completely distracted from the daily stressors and challenges of life. This temporary break may be all you need to get rid of some of the negative thoughts that may be setting you back. This isn't just an opinion either. Research has shown that playing sports or doing some sort of exercise releases endorphins and serotonin, which are essentially some of our happy hormones.
There's no better feeling than jumping into your soft and comfy bed after a tiring and stressful day, but sometimes even after a long day, you still can't fall asleep. Whether it's because of an upcoming deadline, a bad day, or some negative thought that's stressing you, we all have those days where we just can't fall asleep. It's no surprise that sports and regular exercise will help you fall asleep faster as it makes you feel more tired at night, but did you know that sports also improves sleep quality? It increases your overall amount of time you sleep as well as the time you spend in a deep sleep, which is the most important stage of the sleep cycle. Deep sleep is responsible for restoring your energy and making you feel refreshed when you wake up, so if you ever woke up feeling unrested, you probably didn't get enough deep sleep.
Builds Your Self-Confidence
Whether you scored that final game-winning shot or hit a new PR at the gym, sports help you build up your self-confidence. The more you develop your athletic skill, the more positive you will feel about your body and your physical abilities. In fact, the skills, strength, and stamina you build up through sports will leak into your confidence and increase your self-image in all areas of your life, not just at the sport.
Improves Your Mood
Despite running your heart out during that one running session on that hot blazing summer, you notice that you might have felt energized, happy, and even relaxed after the run. This is because sports (or any physical activity) trigger the release of endorphins, which are a type of chemical produced by your body that helps relieves stress and pain. You don't always have to feel like your almost dying, gasping for your breath, to trigger the release of endorphins. You can go for a brisk walk or play a light game of pick-up, as long as you have fun doing it, it will help lighten your mood!