You may enjoy sports because you can spend time with your friends. Or, maybe you like playing sports because they keep you fit. For many, playing makes them happier or less stressed. Sports can calm your mind, strengthen your muscles, and improve your general well-being. However, the benefits go much deeper than just the surface.

How Sports Can Improve Your Mental Health

Sports can be surprisingly good for your mental health. We all know that they are great for you physically, but here are ways you might not realize they are benefiting you mentally.

They Moderate Stress

90% of doctor visits are caused by stress-related illness. Exercise releases endorphins, which in turn relieve pain and stress hormones. Studies show that 20-30 minutes of exercise each day can make people calmer for the remainder of the day. Whether it’s enrolling your kids in youth sports or going for a leisurely walk, everybody can live a less stressful life with sports and physical activity.

Improve Your Mood and How You Feel

When you are focused on a sport, your worries about other things disappear and you will sleep better. They give you an opportunity to unwind and have fun. In fact, a Harvard study discovered that running for 15 minutes or walking for an hour daily reduces the risk of major depression. Cool, huh?

Sport boosts your self-confidence

One way to improve mood and mental health is through regular physical activity. Sports provide a chance both to engage in regular exercise that boosts confidence and self esteem as well as allowing you to control what you’re doing, which often leads to feeling prideful about your accomplishments. The increased vigor and energy can also extend off the field into your other areas of your life like school, work, and relationships.

Sport has been linked to leadership traits

Sports participation, such as football, basketball, and baseball breeding grounds for leadership traits. Studies in high schools reveal that when students are involved in sports they have the opportunity to train which leads them to develop strong leadership skills over time. As team members through sports participants are naturally more inclined to adopt a “team mindset” in their work environment and other areas.