Blog Post #5 Round 3 of Research

Initial question: How do sports affect mental health?

Round #2 of research: How do sports negatively and positively affect our mental health?

  • Many high profile athletes struggle with mental health due to the stress of their sport. (Souter, 2018)
    • The high pressure of competitions can cause increased stress levels that negatively effect mental health.
  • Athletes suffering from injuries increase the risk of mental health problems. (Souter, 2018)
    • Injuries are found to be one of the main causes of depression in athletes.
  • A few mental health disorders that are caused from serious injuries are: (Souter, 2018)
    • Chronic depression, anxiety, eating disorders, increased hostility and others
  • Athletes who have suffered from injuries are 2-7 times more likely to report with mental health disorders. (Souter, 2018)
    • This can be due to high level of emotions they experience due to a career threatening injury.
  • With high profile and competitive athletes levels of stress become amplified. (Souter, 2018)
    • Psychological stress, as well as competition induced stress is experienced at much larger scales.
    • This are only some stress levels they experience, this does not include their personal training, personal life or family stress and problems.
  • Self-loathing, self criticism, and social anxiety was reported at much higher levels in athletes than others. (Layne, 2022)
    • Due to the environment athletes endure, the pressure of constant improvement causes these attributes.
    • The constant will to improve and comparison with teammates or others causes a sense of unworthiness and discontent.
  • Over training to improve and find a self of worthiness not only causes a strain on the body physically but mentally. (Young, 2021)
    • The lack of sleep, physical strain causes the brain to ware down, causing a lack of motivation, burn-out and constant fatigue.
    • It is important to leave a recovery time to allow the body and muscles to rebuild as well as giving the brain time to rest.
  • Some sports require maintaining a certain weight or cutting down to fit a certain weight class. (Young, 2021)
    • With intense training and a strict diet, eating disorder and mental health disorders are more susceptible.
    • The physical strain causes mental fatigue and burnout, as well as serious eating disorder which can cause future health problems.
  • Elite athletes that compete often are found to 13.5% higher chance of having eating disorders due to their sport. (LikeMinded Team, 2022)
    • Sports such as running, gymnastics, and taekwondo have weight classes which causes lots of pressure for athletes.
    • Causing them to feel pressured to remain in their weight class.
  • Many of the negative effects of sports tie in together causing athletes to dislike their sport. (LikeMinded Team, 2022)
    • The stress of overachieving can cause depression which can change eating habits. This is an example of how everything ties in together.
  • Although athletes can face very high levels of stress and pressure, by reaching out and using provided resources, they can continue to train and enjoy their sport.  (Dent Neurologic, 2022)
    • Many training centres for professional athletes provide resources to help with physical and mental health treatment.
    • These centres focus on physical rehabilitation, such as muscle exercises, and treatments
    • As well as mental health therapy, giving athletes a chance to deal with their problems and struggles.
  • A positive environment, with uplifting teammates and coach creates a constructive and supportive community. (Dent Neurologic, 2022)
    • This not only creates stress relieve, knowing you have people by your side, but also builds everyone up, improving you team.
  • A supportive coach is a focal point for a positive mental state in a sport. (Dent Neurologic, 2022)
    • A good coach will provide help and tips to improve the performance of the athlete.
    • Having coaches who you can come to for moral support allows athletes to excel in their sport and enjoy their training sessions.
  • A moderate amount of exercise can make individuals feel calmer for several hours after. (Young, 2021)
    • Sports can help filter out stress and causes the brain to release chemicals which relive pain.
  • Although competitive sports can cause stress, it also relaxes other stressful aspects of life such as school, work, personal issues. (Brennan, 2021)
  • A sport community has proven to show long term effects on mental health and friendships. (Young, 2021)
    • Studies show that individuals who took part in sports from childhood form better long term friendships.
    • Additionally, those who have negative childhood experiences are found to have better mental health states as adults due to the sport and its community around them.
  • Researchers found that group sports have a bigger impact on an individual’s personality and mental health than individual sports. (Brennan, 2021)
    • Reports show better brain activity and functions due to the necessary communication between teammates during practice sessions.
  • Exercise and sports are proven to help fight addiction and prevent it. (Layne, 2022)
    • Studies in Norway found those who participate in sports are less likely to smoke cigarettes and cannabis.
  • While some sports can cause depression, it can also help treat it. (Advanced Sports Team, 2021)
    • Research found that sports can reduce and improve the symptoms of teens experiencing depression.
    • It additionally prevents future replaces from occurring.
  • Sports increase self-esteem and confidence within the individual. (Advanced Sports Team, 2021)
    • Whether this can be due to self-image or weight issues, sports boost confidence and enhance your body.
    • Improving your fitness and muscle causing a more toned body.
  • Intense training for 30 minutes a day creates healthier life habits. (Advanced Sports Team, 2021)
    • With regular exercise, you can remain fit and healthy.
    • By creating a set daily routine, this will help develop a more balanced life.
    • Additionally, a study shows that exercise and movement is proven to improve your mood and social interaction.
  • Intense training for at least one hour daily improves sleep quality. (Kuntz, 2022)
    • This is obviously due to the strain and energy used during the activity.
    • Being well rested will cause a better more energetic next day.
  • Playing sports and regular exercise will keep your mind and body strong. (Kuntz, 2022)
    • Preventing the body from future diseases and infections.
    • Creating a stronger body for the future when aging.
    • Connects the mind and body, having stronger connection and reflexes between both.

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References:

Advanced Sports Team. (2021, December 9). The mental benefits of sports: Advanced Sports & spine. Advanced Sports and Spine. Retrieved January 25, 2023, from https://www.advancedsportsandspine.com/the-mental-benefits-of-sports/

Brennan, D. (2021, October 25). How sports can help reduce stress and ease depression. WebMD. Retrieved January 25, 2023, from https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/benefits-of-sports-for-mental-health

Dent Neurologic Institute. (2022, August 17). Break the stigma; mental health in sports is just as essential as physical health. Dent Neurologic. Retrieved January 25, 2023, from https://www.dentinstitute.com/break-the-stigma-mental-health-in-sports-is-just-as-essential-as-physical-health/

Kuntz, L. (2022, June 1). On thin ice: Competitive sports & youth mental health. Psychiatric Times. Retrieved January 25, 2023, from https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/view/on-thin-ice-competitive-sports-youth-mental-health

Layne, J. (2022, January 24). 23 key pros and cons of competitive sports 2023 – Ablison Energy. Ablison. Retrieved January 25, 2023, from https://www.ablison.com/key-pros-and-cons-of-competition-in-sports/

LikeMinded Team. (2022, April). Sport & Mental Health: How They relate, positive & negative effect. LIKEMINDED. Retrieved January 25, 2023, from https://www.likeminded.care/en/resources/mental-health/sport-and-mental-health-sport-as-therapy

Souter, G., Lewis, R., & Serrant, L. (2018, December 19). Men, Mental Health and Elite Sport: A Narrative Review – Sports Medicine – Open. SpringerOpen. Retrieved January 25, 2023, from https://sportsmedicine-open.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s40798-018-0175-7

Young, A. (2021, April 10). Op-ed: Are youth sports harming our kids’ mental health? Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 25, 2023, from https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2021-04-10/youth-sports-mental-health-pandemic

Summary:

Sports and physical activity have lots of positive effects towards mental health and the overall health of the body. Increasing endorphins, creating a happier mood, improve self-esteem, confidence, and social interactions. As well as relieving stress, depression, anxiety, and more. But too much of a sport can also have many correlating and counterproductive effects. Very competitive athletes can face struggles such as competition stress, feeling the need to constantly improve and excel. Others can develop depression and eating disorders due to their sport’s weight class or requirements. Although, the overall look of sports and exercise is positive, it is important to view the hidden aspects that competitive sports can cause.

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