Exercise has long been hailed as ‘nature’s antidepressant’ and there is a good reason for this. Exercise can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety and help improve self-esteem and positive feelings.
How Does Exercise Improve Mental Health?
Exercising triggers the release of brain chemicals that increase our happiness and our relaxation, and usually, sport is a great form of exercise.
A study from the Mental Health Foundation showed that participants had an elevated mood after 30 minutes, from some form of exercise. This could have been anything from gardening to walking, in comparison to those who participated in an inactive activity such as reading.
The benefits of sport on your mental health
Sports Encourages Friendship
Friendships are one of the most important relationships we have in our lives and are crucial to mental health. When it comes to sport, if you are part of a team, this is the perfect environment for friendships to blossom. Team sport relies on trust and loyalty and these two components can facilitate bonding. Having friendship in your life is an innate need for the majority of us and fulfilling this boosts our mental health.
Sport Reduces Depression and Stress
Being physically active takes your mind away from daily stressors. It only has one thing to focus on, and that is what sport you are participating in right at that moment. When you are exercising, the process reduces the stress hormones in your body and stimulates the production of endorphins and endocannabinoids. These are chemicals that can help keep stress at bay and alleviate depression and anxiety symptoms.
Sports Improve Sleeping Habits
Sleep is absolutely vital to us. Not only is it important to how our body can perform, but it’s also very important to how our brain performs. Lack of sleep can cause all sorts of issues, ranging from hormonal imbalances, tiredness, and a slower rate of healing, amongst others. Sport helps us get a much better quality of sleep, which of course has a positive effect on our mental health.
Sport Boosts Your Self Confidence
Sport usually offers a chance to practice regular exercise. Because of this, we are able to see our stamina, flexibility, endurance and other skills improve over time, which can be a great confidence booster. Along with physical health improving, the energy that comes with it will only fuel the desire to keep practising the sport, and in turn, progress with it. This will reinforce that you are capable of anything you set your mind to!
Sport Boosts Your Cognitive Function
Did you know, exercise boosts your brain function? According to Start Active, Stay Active (2011), there is clear evidence that daily physical activity can reduce the risk of cognitive decline in adults, with a risk reduction of 20-30%, of those developing dementia. It is also said that physical exercise can reduce the likelihood of experiencing cognitive decline in people who don’t have dementia. Keeping your cognition as healthy as possible can help prevent mental health issues, as mental health issues are associated with a disruptive cognition.
Sport and Mental Resilience
Engaging in sport and exercise is a healthy and effective way to cope with life stressors, rather than turning to substances such as alcohol, smoking, or other negative behaviours that could further the issues of mental health problems and worsen your physical state. When faced with mental or emotional challenges, sport gives one of the best kinds of healthy relief, and along with this, regular exercise improves your immune system which is important for both physical and mental resilience.
Sport and Hemp
There are numerous benefits of taking hemp oil for sport. Quality hemp products are rich in CBDA, which acts as an anti-inflammatory, and in CBD, which preserves the nerve cells structure and function. Hemp can also help speed up the recovery process after sport, which means you can get back to exercising in no time, enabling you to keep a routine that supports both your physical and mental health.
Participating in sports is a fantastic way to improve your health. Not only by having the support of peers and building friendships but also for the physical effects it has on your body. Why not try out a new sport?
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