Most of us know by now that regular exercise and practicing sports is part of a healthy lifestyle. However, participating in sports also has an influence on your mental health. Sport fanatics have been reporting for a long time that exercising is a great mood booster. Luckily for us, you don’t have to be a crazy sport fanatic to attain the positive influences on your mental health.

Sports and mood
Sports can boost your mood in different ways. First, there is the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that makes you feel good after your weekly run. A different way is that sports can work as a great distractor. This way it can support you during stressful periods. Sports can also boost your mood in a indirect way by improving your sleep. People who exercise fall asleep earlier and have a deeper sleep cycle. this in turn, leads to more energy and a better mood the next day.

Sports help you fight mental problems
As noted earlier, sports are great for their supportive function during periods of stress. Besides that, sports and exercising seem to be a protective factor against mental issues like depression or burn-out. Recent research showed that running therapy can be an effective treatment for people who suffer from a burn-out. A meta study by martinsen(2005) even showed that the effects of exercise therapy match those of antidepressants, for the treatment of light to moderate forms of depression.

Building confidence with sports
Besides the advantages mentioned above, sport also has a positive influence on your self-confidence and self-image. Research showed that people who regularly sport and exercise have a better self-image, even if they don’t lose any weight.
Sports also enhance your strength, a variety of skills like hand eye coordination and your endurance. This helps to make you feel better about yourself, increasing your confidence.
A final note is that team sports are a casual and fun way to socially interact with people. Participating in a team can also help to boost your confidence.

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Tim Buijs

Here to help you every step off the way. Passionate about sports, traveling and movies.

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