MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK – THE BENEFITS OF SPORT

Mental health can affect us all from time to time but for some it’s a daily occurrence and can become overwhelming. Fortunately, there are ways to help subside the negative connotations and as a gymnastics club, we feel exercise plays a pivotal role in this.

For Mental Health Awareness Week, we’ve shared five tips on how participating in sport can calm your worries and clear your mind.

Relieves Tension

Taking part in sport can relax blood vessels, reduce heart rate and lower blood pressure. As well as having positive effects on your physical wellbeing, this will also result in a more relaxed mental wellbeing.

If you’re not feeling a work out, no worries. Meditating, stretching or even taking time out to breathe deeply for a few minutes a day can take away the tension.

Produces Endorphins

Any form of exercise will stimulate the body to produce chemicals called endorphins. These are released into the brain and give a feel-good sensation known as a “runners high”.

Aerobic work outs are the best for generating this natural pain killer – the more upbeat the work out, the better the feeling!

Increases Self-esteem

Whether part of a team or focused independently, you can improve self-esteem by working towards a goal. Whatever you achieve, from completing your first push up to winning a competition, can give you that feel good factor and encourages further goal breaking.

Start off by setting mini achievable targets and as you grow with confidence push yourself to break bigger barriers, both in sport and in life.

Improves sleep and creates better habits

We’re all guilty of not getting our 8 hours but this can lead to anxiety and sleep deprivation. This has knock on effects to everyday life as sleep is linked to your sense of well-being – the less you get, the worse you feel.

A regular exercise routine will push you to adopt healthier habits and encourages your body to yearn things that are good for it such as sleep, good food and water. As you overcome these healthy changes your body’s overall fitness continues to improve and becomes more effective at handling stress levels.

Socialising 

We’re better connected than ever but more and more of us are feeling lonely which can lead to depression. Socialising in an environment you feel comfortable in relieves stress by releasing a hormone called oxytocin which promotes relaxation.

Joining a team or club and surrounding yourself with people who have similar interests gives you the opportunity to make new friends. Even if it’s in a non-competitive setting, involvement has been associated with social acceptance which can be further nurtured though support from coaches and team members.

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