How sport can help your psyche
As the days become shorter and cloudier with the onset of autumn, it’s normal for our moods and mental well-being to change. However, did you know the best way to counteract negativity and boost your mental health is by staying active? It’s World Mental Health Day on October 10th, so let’s take a closer look at the influence of sports on the psyche.
In their mission statement “Mental health care for all: Let’s make it a reality” WHO aims to focus on the importance of mental health care, especially in the wake of the pandemic. Studies have shown that sport has a significant impact on mental health, so here’s how the Urban Sports Club lifestyle promotes a healthy mind, body and psyche…
Sport makes you happy
Do you feel listless, tired and grumpy during winter and fall? Then you probably have the so-called winter blues – a less intense version of winter depression. The reason is usually lack of daylight. Light causes the body to produce serotonin – a hormone that makes you happy and cheerful – and the darker days mean the body produces less serotonin and more melatonin, the sleep hormone. As a result, your internal clock gets confused and you feel depressed and low on energy. The good news: this is easy to counteract.
Exercise releases happiness hormones including endorphin, dopamine, and serotonin, as well as cannabinoids, which can lift your mood and give you a natural high. If you’ve ever hit the gym despite feeling demotivated, you probably know how great you feel afterwards. Finding the motivation isn’t always easy, but it makes you even prouder once you do. Sport is playing an increasingly important role in the treatment of depression and can be a useful complement to therapy.
It doesn’t matter what kind of sport you prefer – all of it promotes mental health. Functional training at partners such as Parkletics or Bloomergym really works up a sweat, while yoga with partners such as The Studio or Damn Good Yoga focuses on recentering. Schwebebad or Salzhuus are great places to relax.
Your workout against stress
Poor mental health is often associated with stress which is caused by pressure to perform and fast-paced lifestyles. If you struggle to switch off after work and find yourself on a perpetual mental merry-go-round, sport is a great way to clear your head. The best sport for this depends on the individual. Some people literally run away from their problems by going jogging alone or with friends, while others prefer to find their inner center with the mindfulness of yoga.
But exercise doesn’t just reduce stress, it also boosts resilience which means stress, change, and challenges won’t throw you off course. Mental resilience has become a real buzzword since the Corona Crisis began, and exercise won’t just relieve stress but will prevent you from feeling it when difficult situations arise.
Better sleep through physical activity
It’s only when we suffer from a bad night’s sleep that we realise how important sleep is. According to the DAK Gesundheitsreport, around 80% of employees in Germany sleep poorly. This has a direct impact on our physical and mental wellbeing as lack of sleep puts strain on the psyche. Stress and strain are often the triggers for restless nights.
Without the distraction of the day it’s easy to brood in the evening and spiral into negative thoughts. Sport promotes a good night’s sleep, as working out during the day helps you relax during the evening. Just make sure you don’t workout too intensely before bedtime – do a more relaxing activity instead such as yoga.
Sport combats loneliness
Loneliness isn’t a particularly popular topic – people find the subject shameful and don’t like to admit they’re experiencing it. This only exacerbates the problem. Contact restrictions caused by the Corona pandemic significantly impacted our social lives, and almost everybody experienced loneliness including many 18 to 29-year-olds. This is where sport comes in. Joining a running group or trying a new class together is social, fun and helps combat loneliness.
As you can see, sport positively impacts your psyche in many ways. Book your next class now, discover partners near you, and celebrate World Mental Health Day with a rejuvenating workout.