Image credit: Instagram - @nikerunning

How playing sports benefits your body… and your brain

I think Physical Education has sapped all of the fun out of sport for anyone aged between 16 and 25 right now. That is, of course, if you weren’t exceptionally gifted at sports. If kicking a ball or running long distances came naturally to you, this will sound really alien. However, if you, like me, never got on with sports – now is the time to get back into them.

You probably have bad memories of tight-chestedness and insecurity during secondary school PE lessons but don’t let that put you off playing team sports in the future. Most busy workers substitute gym sessions for sport but the mental and physical benefits of team games trump lifting weights and cardio training every day.

In this video from Ted-Ed, Leah Lagos and Jaspal Ricky Singh asks the serious questions about the relationship between sports and our health: “hould we be obsessed with sports? Are sports as good for us as we make them out to be, or are they just a fun and entertaining pastime?”

This is what we learned:

  • Exercise is great for our bodies and minds. This isn’t news for anyone. However, as we recently learned, exercise isn’t very helpful if you plan on losing weight.
  • Increased endorphins during sports can create a runners high.
  • However, there are benefits to playing sport in a team go beyond the benefits of just exercising in general. Meaning that while your five sessions a week gym routine is good, it could be better.
  • Some of those come from the communal benefits of working on a team. Commitment, asking for help, accepting loss and boosted self-esteem.
  • Just by training with a coach you reinforce a growth mindset. This mindset teaches you that you might not learn a skill overnight – it takes time and dedication.
  • Learning through failure is equally important!