Five Surprising Benefits of Sport on Your Physical and Mental Ability

Five Surprising Benefits of Sport on Your Physical and Mental Ability

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From tennis pros to elite gymnasts, our world is no stranger to sports superstars. These people go above and beyond to push the limits of what we thought to be humanly possible. However, contrary to popular belief, sport isn't reserved just for Olympic champions – there's a place in it for everyone, even for us with two left feet. While we probably won’t get a gold medal out of it, practicing sports has an entire list of health benefits that go far beyond getting in shape. Here are just a few to tickle your imagination and get you out of the house!

The benefit of a good night’s sleep
A sound seven to eight hours of sleep are crucial for our day-to-day activities. Our mood, productivity, and overall health are tightly linked to the amount of sleep we got the night before. Unfortunately, with constant virtual world stimulation, it’s not uncommon to have trouble falling asleep these days. Instead of opting for a prescription, try doing a few exercises. Several medical studies have shown that a late-night jog or cycling expedition makes all the difference in getting a good night's sleep. Even intuitively, it makes sense that we'd sleep better after a three-mile run. Thus, the next time you feel like tossing and turning, pause that Netflix rom-com and get out your running shoes.

Team-building: there’s no I in team
Independence is by no means a fault. With that said, every one of us needs our team to back us up from time to time. However, a group of people doesn't inherently constitute a team, making the above often easier said than done – this is where group sports come into the picture. While it may sound odd, batting for the same team will create an unbreakable bond between you and your colleagues, especially in the case of extreme sports. Take river rafting as an example – while you're out on the stream, you have no choice but to rely on your team to paddle to safety. However, alongside an adrenaline rush, river rafting should also leave your team with some unforgettable moments. The ideal place for this in Europe is the Tara River. Going on a Tara rafting adventure is a terrific team-building experience. In addition to a swift ride to shore, this adventure provides a chance to taste the local cuisine and hike the scenic routes along the river.

A guaranteed confidence boost
No one was born a champion, not even those that climb onto the Olympic podium. Every one of them had to learn to win, and more importantly, how to lose. In short, these athletes figured out how to remain confident despite various challenges – and this is something that sports can do for everyone daily. Once you step onto the field, it's up to you to lead the team or yourself to victory. Regardless of the outcome, confidence is born when all hope seems lost, and you still find the strength to save one last match point. This stamina and fight is something any one of us can transfer from the arena to the office. When we can't make heads or tails out of an assignment, the confidence learned in sports is what gets us through.

Sports: kicking stress and depression off the field  
Unfortunately, the majority of us are no strangers to stress or depression. From time to time, the world seems just a bit too heavy to bear, and that's alright – each emotion is valid. However, it's crucial not to succumb to the heavy ones, and for this, sports may play a crucial role. By reducing stress hormones, exercises help us keep stressful thoughts at bay. Simultaneously, a cycling session or morning swim stimulates the production of endorphins. These natural mood lifters prevent us from going into dark places and keep our moods stable throughout the day. After all, trainers don't recommend morning workouts just for the fun of it – there's a bit of science behind it as well.

A leader is born
Just like a champion, none of us are born leaders. Even those naturally gifted hone their skills over time. Although it may not seem like it, team sports are ideal for bringing your leadership skills up to par. There will be a moment during the game when your teammates are lost and in search of guidance – this is when a leader is born. Taking charge of the game and getting your team back on track are skills that radiate leadership potential. However, it's not just about being ahead; true leaders know when to pass the ball and give someone else a chance to shine. All these skills are applicable to areas outside of sports, such as work or academia. Showing initiative and a readiness to listen are strengths just about any recruiter is looking for. 

While they may come off as an activity reserved for vacation, sports are pivotal for our mental and physical health. Even one month of disciplined exercise will show visible results – you'll breathe easier, wake up lighter, and feel an overall sense of ease throughout the day. The best part – once you've caught the exercise bug, they'll be no turning back!

Written by Brigitte Evans

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