Stretching
Sport for Mental Well-being

Why does Physical Activity, Exercise & Sport help?

Repair & Release

For the many abstract, prolonged threats in modern life that do not warrant a physical response, sport can provide the release or relief from a state of high alert. In an increasingly digital world, sport and physical activities carry meaningful sensory experiences to counterbalance digital stimuli are important tools in sensory integration.

Minimises Risk Factors

Regular exercise in the form of physical activity or sport is undoubtedly one of the best individual coping strategies against stress that improves the well-being of people, both with mental disorders and with good mental health.

Improves Protective Factors

Mastering new tasks and meeting goals, as well as feeling part of a sports team or sport club can have a brightening effect on our mood. Physical activity increases coping efficacy and memory function.

Antidepressant

Results of cross-sectional and longitudinal studies indicate that aerobic exercises training has antidepressant and anxiolytic effects and protects against harmful consequences of stress.

Social Inclusion

Sport aids social inclusion, which greatly affects quality of life. It helps build personal resilience and self-confidence, as well as other personal and life skills which are protective factors in mental health promotion.

Improves well-being

It improves self-esteem and a sense of community. Physical activity therefore plays an important role in treatment and dealing with modest to medium forms of mental health problems or mental illnesses (mostly depression and anxiety).

Yoga Practice

Good Fit

Choose a sport you enjoy!

While choosing, keep in mind that it suits your physical capacity, goals and availability.

Play

For stress reduction, playing sport is more effective than physical activity like cycling to work or housework

Positive Sport

Your sporting activity needs to be conducted in a way that aids mental and psychosocial development, health and well-being. Competition and evaluation in comparison to other’s performance can be particularly problematic for those with the low ability and self-esteem.

Role of coaches

Positive instruction such as praising good performance and effort, providing technical instruction in a non-judgmental way and encouragement with respect to improving on mistakes lead to greater self-esteem. Remember to pick a coach (and teammates) that encourage individuals to improve their own skills and performance rather than comparing with peers also encourage increased competence and self-esteem.

Support system

A support system is important for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Recent studies indicated that training effects and mood improvement can also be achieved using internet- or telecommunication-based support.

The adoption of lifelong regular physical activity therefore is both preventive and therapeutic, which in turn improves the quality of life. Although participation in sport can be beneficial for mental health and contribute to positive health development, it is best not to take the relationship as a “given”. Keep in mind the following tips to maximise your mental health benefits from sport.

Studies found that men see better results in reduced feelings of depression, anxiety and symptoms of somatization when they participate in vigorous intensity physical activity, while women respond optimally to mild intensity.