Urban Rec - Sydney's Sport and Social Club
Ten Benefits of Playing Social Sports
Apr 2

Ten Benefits of Playing Social Sports

April 2, 2014 - 6 years ago

We are all well aware thet being fit and healthy is good for you. That's a given. But what specifically can sport do to our health and well being? Here are the top 10 benefits sport is bringing to our members, daily. 

1. Build friendships

Ever feel like since you hit 25 you suddenly stopped making friends? There is something about Sydney that means as soon as you hit quarter century your bestie making days are behind you. Sport is the ONE thing that brings people together. It doesnt matter who you are, where you are from, what you do, or how much money you have, everyone has their story to tell about sport. Some play, some watch, but everyone has a connection through sport. Urban Rec prides itself on bringing people together on, and off the field. The comradery a team feels after a big win (or even a big loss) is something that can rarely be found in any gym. 

2. Improve Your Mood

Its virtually impossible to step off that field feeling worse than before you started. The endorphins are running, the energy is high. Physical activity stimulates brain chemicals that make you feel happier and more relaxed. Fact. Team sports in particular provides a chance to unwind and engage socially, all while making those lungs work overtime. Hello cardio!

3. Sharpen Your Focus

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) reports that regular physical activity can help you keep important mental skills sharp as you age, including thinking, learning, and using good judgment. According to the American Heart Association, doing a mix of aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities, which are common to most sports, three to five times a week for at least 30 minutes can provide mental health benefits.

4. Reduce Stress

When you are physically active, your mind is distracted from daily stressors, freeing you to think more creatively. Exercise reduces the levels of stress hormones in your body, such as adrenaline and cortisol. At the same time, it stimulates production of endorphins, which are natural mood lifters that can help lower your stress levels. Endorphins may even leave you feeling more relaxed and optimistic after a hard workout on the sports field.

5. Keep Depression At Bay

“Go out and play” is good advice not only for children, but also for adults who are feeling blue. Researchers at Duke University studied 156 people with depression who were randomly assigned to treatment of solely aerobic exercise, exercise plus an antidepressant, or an antidepressant alone. After four months, all three groups showed improvement in depression symptoms, but after 10 months, the exercise only group had the lowest rate of depression recurrence.

6. Improve Sleep

The Mayo Clinic notes that sports and other forms of physical activity can improve the quality of your sleep, helping you to fall asleep faster and to deepen your sleep. A good sleep means you wake up feeling refreshed, and ready to hit the day head on. If you do play sports late —evening practices within a few hours of bedtime may leave you too energized to sleep.

7. Boost Confidence and Self-Esteem

The regular exercise that comes with playing sports can help boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem. As your strength, skills, and stamina increase through playing sports (ant they will), your self-image will improve as well. Sports provide you with a sense of mastery and control, which often leads to a feeling of pride and self-confidence. With the renewed vigor and energy that comes from physical activity, you may be more likely to succeed in tasks off the playing field as well as on it.

8. Don't give me that 'time' crap!

Does the thought of exercising make you want to lie down? According to the Mayo Clinic, even 10 to 15 minutes of exercise can improve your mood. So if you are feeling completely uninterested in playing sport one night, get down there, and just sub in for a half or a quarter. Not only did you not let your team down, you have made a difference to your body. 

9. Leadership Skills

Sports teams give you an opportunity to surround yourself with competitive people and role models, and learn from them both. If you are slightly more experienced than a new player, you can find yourself sharing hints, and tips you have learnt along your way. Providing wisdom and encouragement, is building your leadership skills you may not know you have. These skills transfer off the court instinctively, voulenteer to be captain, and build your own personal skill base. 

10. Sports Nutrition

When engaging in sports for the first time, you may feel hungrier than usual. This is normal, because your body is expending much more energy than it is used to.

Here are some nutrition tips to help keep you healthy while you participate in sports:

  • Eat fat. About 20 to 25 percent of energy comes from fats, so to keep energy levels high, your body needs you to consume fat.
  • Make sure to eat before, during, and after your sport. The helps maintain blood glucose levels, which in turn will help enhance your sports performance.
  • Keep hydrated! When playing a sport, your body loses a lot of fluid, which can cause dehydration. This is dangerous – and potentially fatal – so drink plenty of water.
  • Eat a balanced diet. An athlete's diet should include plenty of complex carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and fats.
  • Limit salt and simple sugar.
  • Don't fast!
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