Did you grow up playing sports or have one lately? If so, you’ve probably taken note of how much better you feel now than when you first started playing. The physical activities and the competition in sports can help anyone improve his/her physical health and overall well being. Sports can be a great way to improve mental health as well; after all, it’s a competition. Here are five key benefits of sports that can help improve your mental well being:
o Sports provide physical fitness – unlike other recreational activities, competitive sport activities require a lot of energy, endurance, strength and agility. Because of this, they provide excellent opportunities for building physical fitness. For example, soccer players use a lot of body weight to win the game. The intensity of soccer games means that players will be using large muscles to move the ball around the field. Thus, soccer players receive a number of important lessons in physical fitness and motor skills.
o Participation in sports develops social interaction skills – sports teach the value of teamwork and group work. Sports such as soccer, wrestling and basketball provide examples of social interaction skills that translate well to the classroom, the workplace and other settings. In the classroom, students will learn how to cooperate with others to solve problems and create projects.
o Participation in sports involves using different minds – the competitive spirit that makes a team to compete against another team is a result of the combined brains of all members. Through sports, people learn to think creatively and come up with new strategies to win a game. The interaction that takes place during games requires each individual to use their unique cognitive skills to think outside of the box and to be creative and innovative. For instance, football teams often play offense and defense, which require the ball carrier to be quick on his feet. A wide receiver needs to be able to jump high and make a hard catch.
o Participation in recreational sports provides a healthy lifestyle – playing a sport can be a fun, aerobic and rewarding recreational activity. Participating in recreational sports can improve overall health and fitness. The ability to remain committed and dedicated to a particular goal throughout a game helps players become disciplined and focused. Also, discipline and focus are required to mentally handle challenging situations when playing competitive sports.
o Participation in sports teaches self-discipline – sports teach the value of working to the best of one’s ability. The commitment to a team, individual or community contributes to self-discipline. Individuals learn to set daily goals and work to achieve them. For instance, if a player wants to increase his running speed, he may begin jogging at a certain pace for one week and then increase his pace gradually.