It has been well-documented that playing sports is good for your body and mind. While playing a sport is not going to help you solve quadratic equations, it is definitely going to help your general cognitive abilities and emotional development. Grown-ups tend to ignore the benefits of play the most. While young kids play often, the amount of time they spend in sports has seen a steep decline after the advent of video games and the internet.

Findings suggest that playing a sport has several benefits for the brain. The least of which is an increased intelligence and problem solving abilities. Children benefit the most from play, breaks from their study cycle to play a sport holds a young children in good stead as they grow older. It gives us the opportunity to let ourselves express physically and builds the foundation for a healthy emotional development.

Here are a few ways sports can help your brain.

Mood uplifter

One of the biggest benefits of playing sports is that it helps stimulate the release of endorphins. These mood elevating hormones helps you feel vitalized, energetic and provides you natural pain relief. Team sports are especially helpful in this as they help you connect with more people and the natural competition and challenge helps you focus better off the field. The more time you spend on the field is going to result in a higher quality of work off the field. Recreational sports, even without the idea of competition can be a great mood booster.

Helps you focus

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Playing a sport helps boost the secretion of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, that helps the growth of brain cells in young children. Playing a sport can help boost critical thinking as it requires you to solve problems on the go and come up with creative ways to deal with problems. A sport like tennis, squash or even badminton can help you focus for longer durations. The sport requires a sustained attention span and one’s ability to focus and concentrate is only going to grow with more practice. Research shows that aerobic and muscle training workouts usually work best for improving concentration levels.

Helps stay energetic in old age

Research strongly suggests that playing a sport or exercising regularly helps adults as they age. It keeps them fit as well as helps the keep their memory intact. Regular exercise and playing a sport has been linked to reduced cognitive decline in adults. Moreover, playing a sport provides adults and senior individuals the perfect way to meet like-minded individuals and form strong bonds. Playing a sport also helps strengthen one’s fluid intelligence and keeps one’s learning abilities polished.

Works as an anti-depressant

Playing a sport outdoors on a daily basis helps you deal with stress factors in a far more effective fashion. There is no chance of negative thoughts cropping up when you are in the middle of an intense game of football. One cannot be distracted on the tennis court thinking of the dressing down they received from their boss, however, one can definitely imagine their boss’ face on the ball. The natural release of dopamine and endorphins due to sport is something that makes one feel happier, more optimistic and keeps depression at bay.

Confidence booster

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There is nothing like winning a game in straight sets to make your day! Playing a sport can give you the required confidence to overcome many of our daily tasks and activities. Finding yourself down does not necessarily mean you need to stay down. Playing a sport gives you the additional confidence required to help your brain function at its optimum capacity. It helps inculcate leadership traits as well. Playing a sport is crucial to the mental health as well as physical health of an individual and is something that everyone should participate in regardless of age.

What do you think?