More than a friendly competition: sports benefit mental health

Everyone should participate in a sport they find enjoyable

Sports have always been recognized as a good thing for physical health. I think it goes beyond that, sports benefit mental health too. 

It is proven that participating in sports and physical activities makes your mood better and also relieves stress. It also boosts self-esteem. Sports also provide goal setting and accomplishing these goals make you feel accomplished and betters mental health. 

Research shows when playing a sport, endorphins are released, which are chemicals in your brain that are associated with having fun as well as pain relievers. This is essentially why your mood and self esteem are improved when playing sports.

Goal setting is also very important in sports and in improving your mental health. For example, I run cross country, and I set goals for myself every season. I try my best every season to accomplish those goals. After accomplishing them, I feel a sense of accomplishment, and it overall makes me happy. It provides confidence in the sport and a sense of satisfaction. Another example is during track, my friend’s and my goal was to make it to State that year. We worked hard throughout the season and were all happy with the results we were earning in the meets. Then came postseason and we were strong runners all postseason, doing well enough in the Regionals to qualify for State. We were the last team to qualify for it, but we were all so happy to achieve our goal and were so excited. This definitely boosted all of our mental health because we all accomplished our major goal for the season.

Another key part in sports is the social aspect. I have made so many friends throughout the years of playing sports. A lot of my favorite memories are with my friends playing sports. I am always happy when I spend time with them, especially when we take off for a run together. Everyone should find a few friends and go play a sport a couple times a week when you have time because it will definitely benefit your physical and mental health.

Coming off a long work day in the summer I enjoy going on a run and clearing my mind. This makes my mental health better and makes me a happier person overall. Having an after school activity takes your mind off the stress of school and anything else that is bothering you. I always like to run after school not only to train for my sport but also to take my mind off of school work and other worries. 

Overall, sports are very important and beneficial to everyone. People should find a sport they enjoy and do it because it will improve their overall physical and mental health.