We’ve all heard plenty on how sports are great for our physical health but a much less spoken topic is that of mental health. Yes, research has found that engaging in different vigorous activities comes hand in hand with quite a few mental health benefits. Read on for more on how sports can help boost your child’s mental health and why you should be encouraging it!
Yes, that’s right. All that strain, sweat, and hard work converts somewhere down the line into a mood lifter. Whether it’s going for a walk or playing football, engaging in physical activity stimulates your brain to release chemicals that make you feel more relaxed, happier and able to unwind. This is probably enough reason to get your child interested in sports. Start by signing him up for some extracurricular activities, switching on the TV when there’s a match going on or even getting AFL tickets for him to experience the glory of the real deal!
Once you think about it, this benefit doesn’t come as quite a surprise. Playing a sport and putting in that effort to do it well uses multiple mental functions including critical thinking, learning and being able to use good judgment. So regular activity, three or four times a week, and at least 30 minutes of it, significantly sharpens your mental skills, thus improving your concentration.
Reduces Stress and Depression
Adolescence is a period prone to various mental health disorders as teenagers go through a tough yet vulnerable time meeting expectations while trying to figure out who they are. While obviously not a wholly preventive method against stress and depression, taking part in sports does reduce it as the mind is distracted from daily stressors and negative thoughts, essentially allowed to unwind. On a biological level, it reduces your body’s level of stress hormones whilst simultaneously producing endorphins- our natural mood lifters.
The importance of sleep in a child’s schedule is hardly a new subject. Engaging in sports makes you fall asleep faster and into a deeper sleep at that. This improves the quality of it, which in turn improves your mood the next day as well as your outlook.
As your child commits himself to a sport, with time his strength and stamina will increase. This will boost his self-image as he becomes a notable player. This boost in self-image leads to an increase in self-esteem and self-confidence. This confidence is not only limited to the playing field, however. You’ll soon begin to see your child tackling other tasks with more tenacity and assertiveness.
Strong Leadership Qualities
Research shows a strong relationship between team-minded sports and leadership qualities, particularly because of the aspects of loss, victory and training together as a team. This also helps your child learn to become more compatible with others in social situations. This will ease any stress, social anxiety or shyness that comes from social interaction.
These are the main benefits sports have on a child’s mental health. Frankly, you’ll find no shortage of reasons to get involved with one so sit down with your child, decide on a sport and get started!