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Mental health benefits of sport

Five things being active can do for your mental wellbeing

In our rapidly-changing world it is becoming increasingly important to focus on positive mental health and wellbeing.  

Sport and physical activity are a great outlet for the stresses of everyday life and provide participants with a clear focus to stay positive. The benefits of sport and physical activity are endless, but how exactly can it improve our mental wellbeing?

Here are five ways in which being physically active can improve your mental health.

1. It makes you happy

Physical activity comes with the release of endorphins – a chemical responsible for euphoria. Whether you’re working out at the gym, playing a team sport, going for a run or simply enjoying a nice walk, your body will trigger the release of endorphins to your brain, improving your mood.

2. It improves your sleep

Regular exercise can drastically improve your sleep pattern and deepen your sleep. A good night’s rest can affect your mood and create a positive outlook for the day ahead. So sleep well and stay positive.

3. It lowers anxiety and reduces stress

By becoming physically active you can simply distract your brain, allowing it to rest and move away from any negative thoughts. Exercise reduces stress hormone levels in our bodies, making it easier to relax and enjoy our time off.

4. It slows down cognitive decline

Sport allows you to keep your cognitive skills sharp. It prompts you to practise critical thinking and decision making and improves your concentration. For people suffering from dementia, engaging in moderate-intensity physical activity can result in a slower development of the disease.

5. It’s a confidence boost

Engaging in sports can improve your confidence and social skills. By taking part in team sports you socialise in a relaxed and joyful environment, making it easier to meet new people and find common interests. And as your strength and physical condition improves with playing sport, so will your self-confidence, providing a good confidence boost. 

With all those benefits, why wouldn’t you take part in sport?

Find out more

Read #MoreThanMedals: it's okay not to be okay by Susie Elms on Cutting Edge.

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