21 Mar Psychological benefits of playing sports
There are many of us who today have opted for a somewhat healthier lifestyle and we despise the much appreciated sedentary lifestyle of practicing sports. People choose very different sports options, from running, cycling, calisthenics or even going to the gym, these have become the most common sport options to practice for those who, leading a somewhat sedentary work life, have chosen to practice something of a sport.
Let’s demystify some excuses that make us not want to play sports
We should not think that practicing sport is going to involve a considerable financial outlay, since there are alternatives to not spend too much while we practice that chosen sport modality. As we have previously pointed out, running, walking or calisthenics are just some of the sports that can be done outdoors, at no cost to those who practice it.
Another thing that we must demystify will be the time we have to practice sports. You can always make time to practise some sport, yes, look for the sport that motivates you. First, we will have to organize ourselves, at first it will be enough to practice this sport for 20 to 30 minutes. Once the demands of our sport rise, we will not need to increase the time, the 20 or 30 minutes that we dedicate will be enough, but we will have to increase the intensity of the exercise.
The sport that motivates us
The third myth is the one that says that any sport is good, and this is not so much a myth as a truth, but we must look for that sport that motivates us and fills us, especially to create a routine at the beginning. Then, as advice, so that we can enjoy all the psychological benefits that sports practice provides us, we must maintain constant innovation and include new exercises. Innovating when doing any sport we practice is essential so as not to get into the monotony of exercise, in this way we will encourage overcoming challenges and observe how we feel better, all due to the psychological benefits that sport provides us in constant innovation.
We are very aware that finding the sport that motivates us 100% from the beginning is quite complex since the offer is infinite from running, cycling, calisthenics, bodybuilding, martial arts, yoga, Pilates, etc. The list is endless, but they all offer us physical and psychological benefits, we just have to choose the one that we like and motivate the most.
Therefore, let’s abandon the sofa as a way of life and practice sports knowing the psychological benefits that it brings.
The psychological benefits of playing sports
1. It makes us feel good
Most people associate it with fatigue, sweat, stiffness, but we must point out, as we said before, that at first, we will look for a moderate exercise to install it in our routine, we are not going to become Olympic athletes all at once. Tiredness, sweat, and stiffness will be present in this first stage, but not only will they be our companions in it, but we will also begin to secrete many more endorphins.
The endorphins are hormones charged with providing pleasure and euphoria and norepinephrine, is a chemical responsible for managing the regulation of the different responses of the brain to various stressful situations to which we can face throughout the day, and which, in the long run, will help us manage future stressful situations.
Therefore, the practice of physical exercise has as a psychological benefit (among others) the reduction of anxiety, through the secretion of our body of these two substances that are so healthy for us, endorphins and norepinephrine.
2. Improved self-esteem
Self-esteem is the appreciation or consideration that one has for oneself. The improvement of self-esteem is given because when we practice sports we begin to see ourselves better and we begin to achieve that goal of self-image, which will make us feel better about ourselves. When we talk about self-image, we totally distance ourselves from the social constructs of beauty canons, which all they do is set unrealistic goals. We must set realistic goals for ourselves and be aware of our self-image goal.
In addition, we will have more energy, more resistance, and greater agility when carrying out the daily activities that make up our day-to-day.
3. Social skills
There is an improvement in social skills. This point is closely related to self-esteem since when we play sports and begin to look better and feel better, our social self also benefits from this. We see the world from another perspective, which makes us leave our comfort zone, meeting new people, and facing new situations as well.
4. Prevention of cognitive decline
We are at a time when, unfortunately, more and more, and due to vital longevity, we find ourselves with degenerative-cognitive diseases. Diseases such as senile dementia or even Alzheimer’s. Continuous sports practice prevents cognitive decline, being one of its most powerful enemies.
Our brain needs to be in constant stimulation, otherwise, it can atrophy. Activating the brain has many advantages.
There is also an improvement in memory with physical exercise. Physical exercise produces an improvement in neurogenesis, in the hippocampus, which is the nucleus of memory. What this process promotes is neuronal regeneration, which favors memory. In addition to memory, there is also an attentional improvement, which in childhood and adolescence is highly beneficial to try to avoid attentional problems or diseases of this type, such as the much-dreaded attention deficits, which are basically the main problem of school failure in the classrooms.
Therefore, as a psychological benefit of sport, we find that it is beneficial for memory, which in turn is beneficial for other areas related to it.
The more you move, the more self-perception we have and therefore the more we pay attention to the details in general.
Many leading companies such as Google or Apple, in their headquarters, allocate places to practice sports in their spaces. In addition, they bet that employees, in their schedules, include sport in the working day, as it increases productivity.
As we have said previously, the continuous practice of sport improves memory and attention, therefore, it is obvious that it produces an increase in the productivity of workers.
Training intensely helps to generate different substances, hormones, and proteins such as the BDNF protein, which improves performance, decision-making, and learning. This clearly helps productivity at work and that is why more and more companies are choosing to hire active people at the sports level.
7. Ally against addictions
Sport is an indispensable ally against addictions. Addictions to substances such as tobacco or alcohol are highly related to a sedentary lifestyle. Therefore, when we start to play sports, these addictions are relegated to the background. This is why more and more doctors are including sports as a complement to addictive behavior treatment therapies.
Including a sport in our daily routine can only bring us positive things, we will feel more relaxed, we will improve our self-esteem and above all, it takes us away from the terrible sedentary lifestyle to which current jobs subject us. Do not hesitate and begin to discover the psychological benefits that sport brings us.