Connections Between Sports and Mental Health
When most people think of a sport they probably think of the type that they are involved in such as American football, ice hockey or rugby. These sports certainly have their place in society, with most being played for fun and recreation, but there are also other sports that provide a form of competition that may not always be so welcome amongst the mainstream public. There are also sports that can be classified as a particular style of game and that can have varying degrees of seriousness when it comes to those playing the game. Many of these different types of games have a number of different sub-styles and variations, each having its own particular set of rules and structure. It is for this reason that it is important to know what type of game you are playing before you get out there on to the sporting arena.
One example of a very popular sport that many people play and enjoy is table tennis. Table tennis can be enjoyed both as a competitive and relaxing game as well as a game for the whole family to play in an effort to keep from getting ‘too serious’. The physical strain of actually hitting a ball back and forth can be quite draining and can often times result in players feeling physically ill from the actions of the game. This, in turn, can have a negative impact on overall mental health.
Another example of mind sports involves skill such as chess. Chess is a game of strategy that requires a great deal of thought and critical thinking skills in order to win. In order to become a professional player, you must be very quick with your reactions to events and will need to make quick decisions under pressure. Not everyone is suited to this type of competitive environment and there is a certain amount of mental strain that chess brings with it. However, many other types of non-physical sports can employ similar strategies that are designed to sharpen your mind in a similar way.
With all the mind sports available to the public today it is becoming more apparent as to why there is such a strong connection between physical activity and mental fitness. One of the most popular of the mind sports is chess, which has a long standing history in the physical activity arena. There are governing bodies for chess as well as national level teams for the game. This association with chess is no coincidence as those who excel at chess are generally also strong in mentally strong.
Another sport that makes use of strategy and mind games is figure skating. It is a slow paced competitive sport that requires a great deal of skill, finesse and patience. Those who excel at figure skating are often excellent at applying the human mind to solve puzzles and plan out moves in order to beat their opponents. Those who do not excel in this sport may find it to be a frustrating sport that lacks any true competition other than for the thrill of competition.
The connections between sports and mental fitness are not a recent discovery. In fact, they are rooted in human history itself. Ancient men routinely engaged in wrestling or boxing to satisfy their competitive needs and they found it to be physically and mentally stimulating. The same is true today of many of the activities that are categorized as sports and many professional athletes engage in some form of physical activity on a daily basis in order to stay in peak physical condition for games and events that require physical prowess.