Playing sport can be a great way for young people to meet new people and make friends. It also offers a whole host of benefits for their mental health from improving sleep to busting stress.

Mental Benefits of Playing Sport

mental health

It’s well proven that sport is beneficial to our physical well being and we’ve written lots about it.  Studies have also proven that exercise can play a deeply therapeutic role in addressing psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, stress and sleeping problems.

Exercise has been described as a “wonder drug” in preventing and managing mental health. Many GPs now prescribe physical activity for depression, either on its own or in conjunction with other treatments.

When we are physically active, whether that means getting out for a walk, run, gym or playing sport, our mind is distracted from daily stressors and thoughts.  This helps us avoid getting bogged down by negative thoughts.  Exercise actually reduces the levels of stress hormones in your body and at the same time, it stimulates production of endorphins.  These are natural mood lifters that can keep stress and depression at bay.

Physical activity has a big impact on our self-esteem – that’s how we feel about ourselves and our perceived self-worth. This is a key indicator of mental wellbeing. Those with improved self-esteem can cope better with stress and improves relationships with others.  Young people who develop an athletic skill feel more positive about their bodies and their physical abilities. Therefore, their self-esteem improves.