Various studies and expert psychologists agree that practicing sport is a psychological therapy affordable and accessible, which provides numerous benefits for the health and well-being of those who dare to try it. We must practice exercise throughout the year, but in the summer it is better to be outdoors, and there are many exercises that we can practice and that do not require special sports skills, such as walking, swimming, or riding a bicycle (always remembering to avoid the hours when it is warmer, and that it is necessary to protect against the sun, and hydrate properly, as well as adapt the intensity and duration of the exercise to our abilities and our age.

Carlos Díez, director of Sanitas-Real Madrid Medical Services, warns that the lack of physical activity in Western society is a serious problem that harms both physical health and emotional well-being, and praises the virtues of sport that offers us the opportunity to learn, exercise and strengthen a series of mental skills that will allow us to improve in the sport to which we are fans, but also in other environments, such as our professional or academic activity or our social relationships.

Among the health effects of sports practice include:

  • It helps to control stress. Reduces anxiety and its consequences, such as irritability and tension maintained.
  • It's fun so it helps to forget about problems and occupies leisure time in a healthy way.
  • Motivate the individual and favors its ability to set challenges and successfully deal with them.
  • Improves self-esteem This is usually linked to greater physical well-being and because with exercise the body usually looks better which gives more confidence in oneself. In addition, it helps to develop our spirit of sacrifice and improvement.
  • Increase cognitive performance By increasing the flow of oxygen to the brain, alertness is enhanced and learning ability, memory and concentration improve.
  • It promotes emotional well-being: activates the production of endorphins, hormones that make us feel pleasure.
  • Help to be tolerant in the face of frustration: we learn to work hard and not to be discouraged when difficulties arise, and to work with perseverance to achieve our goals.
  • Decreases the symptoms of depression: Physical exercise is often used as a treatment that complements other therapies, and sometimes it is even an alternative to traditional methods when managing some mental disorders. Experts estimate, in fact, that people who exercise regularly have about 40% less chance of developing a depressive disorder than sedentary people.

Sport benefits children

In the case of children, the key is to choose the sport that best suits each one, and make your practice fun.

This will ensure that physical activity promotes the physical and emotional development of the child, and that it provides benefits such as:

  • It facilitates their social integration, because they learn to comply with standards.
  • It helps the most timid to lose the fear of relating, and reduces the impulsivity of the most active.
  • They learn to collaborate with other children, to work as a team, and to be disciplined, since they must abide by the rules of the game and respect shifts.
  • They become more responsible because they have to fulfill certain obligations.
  • Improves movement coordination.
  • It positively influences their physical development.

Before starting any physical activity or sport, it is necessary to consult with a specialist which is the most appropriate for our age and physical condition, and that they make us a previous medical examination. And it is that despite how healthy it is to practice exercise, it can be harmful if we do it badly or have a health problem that makes it unadvisable.

Source: Sanitas Medical Services - Real Madrid

2.11 Exercise: Nature's Medicine for Depression and Stress (November 2019).