There’s a reason why many people enjoy working out. For starters, regular exercise helps us become stronger and healthier. We know that engaging in vigorous physical activity helps pump up our endorphins, a neurotransmitter that can induce feelings of euphoria. This, in turn, contributes to our sense of well-being. Apart from the health benefits, working out is also a great way to pass the time. Of course, this isn’t the only path to good health. You can accomplish all of these things through sports.
Many people think they need to get fit before engaging in sporting activities, but the opposite is true. Playing sports will help you become a healthier and more well-rounded person. After all, there’s no other activity that allows you to use your mind and body and teaches you critical life skills like trust and communication.
What does this mean for you? Anything good for the body is also good for the mind. It’s been proven that regular participation in sports can help alleviate stress and feelings of anxiety and isolation. And I’m not just talking about basketball or football. Even winter sports like ice skating and skiing can give you the same benefits.
Staying healthy can be difficult if you live in a cold area. It’s wet and inhospitable, and oftentimes, the weather forces you to remain indoors. Opportunities for physical activity are far and few between. That said, that shouldn’t keep you from enjoying winter sports. So pick up your Bogner jacket and head to the slopes (or the rink). Here are 3 reasons why you should play winter sports.
1. Communication and teamwork
Sports is a social activity, and whether you play with others or prefer to go about it alone, it has become an important avenue for socialization. Let’s say you’re new to town and you don’t know anyone.
Picking up a new sport can help you connect with others and bond over a shared experience. You get to play with other people and form important social connections. Sports can also give you a sense of purpose. You get to share your interests with like-minded individuals and socialize with them regularly.
2. Pleasure and relaxation
Your mind and body are interconnected. If your physical health is out of balance, your mind will soon follow. The inverse is true as well. Unchecked stress and anxiety can cause your physical health and performance to drop. Participating in winter sports can help build your confidence and alleviate the effects of stress.
We all know what stress feels like. We’re constantly anxious, and we start to distance ourselves from others. Without an outlet, isolation starts to set in. Stress could also exacerbate other mental conditions such as depression. Regular physical activity can rebalance our minds and bodies and helps us feel centered again.
But how does it work? Our body releases hormones and neurotransmitters during certain situations. If you’re in danger, your body releases cortisol and adrenaline to activate your fight-or-flight mode. Cortisol heightens the sense of urgency while adrenaline gives you the boost you need to react quickly. Meanwhile, recreational activities such as sports trigger the release of serotonin and dopamine, which induce pleasure.
3. Restfulness and stamina
The regular release of pleasure hormones and neurotransmitters can uplift your overall quality of life. That’s why you sleep better if you’re in a good mood. There’s evidence to suggest that participation in sports can improve your sleep quality. Simply put: put on your skis if you want to get better sleep. If you find yourself restless and sluggish, maybe some time on the slopes is the medicine you need.
Some doctors have even begun prescribing sports to cure everything from depression to insomnia. While the study of sleep is still in its infancy, more and more people are reporting better sleep quality and a sense of rejuvenation after signing up for a sport. Imagine sleeping early and waking up on time feeling energized. That’s something you can’t get from a pill.
Sleep is something we all do, but there’s also a lot we don’t know about it. We’ll soon see the full picture as more studies are conducted. Perhaps researchers can develop better and less invasive ways of improving our mental health without resorting to medicine.
The bottom line
These three things are just the tip of the iceberg regarding the myriad effects regular physical activity can do on us. From a stronger body to better sleep, there’s no denying that sports can be a force for good. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain if you decide to a local sports club or even practice alone. Just make sure you see a medical professional before trying anything physically strenuous.