Saturday, April 01, 2023 | Ramadan 9, 1444 H
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Can sports make a difference with mental health?

So exercising is not to impress others but to bring balance in our brain and body. That would be the best achievement in life. So be selfish when it comes to moving for fitness

It seems exercising is not just good for physical fitness but for mental health as well.

It can keep one away from depression. We know when we do exercise we feel rejuvenated. There are times when a walk alone gets your thoughts fall into place and creativity flows in the place of stressful thoughts.

According to Dr Hamed al Sinawi, our guest on Observer podcast, GreenMent, studies have shown that people who exercise frequently are less likely to suffer from health problems like anxiety, depression and sleep disorders. Also studies have proven that sports can also keep kids and teenagers away from using drugs.

This is because sports like football, cricket, volleyball etc give one a sense of cohesion. With sports, you learn to have long lasting relationships. He explained that one learns to have self-discipline because a person has to follow a certain diet, stick to a regular exercising regime. So in general, all this is good for your mental health.

If this is the case it shows how important it is to introduce physical education and introduce sports in schools at a young age. However, this also does not mean everyone has to be in competitive sports and in teams. Dr Hamed explained in the podcast what is important is to move, which means something that one can fit into the daily routine, suitable for one’s age and physical capacity.

When we watch children we can see how they love moving and it is almost impossible for them to sit still. As we grow older we become conscious of our surroundings and people. Of course we cannot overlook the fact that people will come to their own conclusions if we tend to move and hop around like children.

So now we have gadgets to count our steps and other data, which can be motivating but it seems there is a danger of getting obsessed with it just as some get hooked on gyms and weightlifting as well as calorie counting.

The senior psychiatrist said it is just a matter of initiating movement because staying still, especially with modern life, most of us work in offices. We have very limited exercise time.

We of course like being appreciated and that adds to our motivation. Apparently, once you set the pattern, it's difficult to give it up because of the feel good factor.

In the past people naturally walked for running errands unlike today we rush to the supermarket and look for the closest parking and if we don’t find one we prefer to waste time and fuel by driving in the car park until we find a vacant spot and in the process of looking out for the shoppers heading towards their vehicle.

On the other hand the weather can play a significant role when it comes to outdoor activities. Interestingly shopping malls have become an attraction to do the walk.

In other words people are finding their way to achieve what they want for their fitness.

Mental Health Foundation says walk, run or stroll your way to better mental health for all this November. November is just around the corner and this is what we have to do. The challenge is designed to get us moving and feel physically and mentally healthy.

Meanwhile an interesting factor is that sports can balance both the right and left hemispheres.

Dr Hamed pointed out on the podcast about the studies that talk about the balancing of brain function and there is also a relation between sports and happiness because of endorphins and dopamine. There’s more- the actual movement not only improves your mood, but there are some studies that it can defeat Alzheimer's.

So in other words exercising can bring us happiness- something everyone is searching for. Most of the time we expect external factors to bring us happiness and miss the whole point. It is only our mind and thoughts that can bring happiness to us.

So exercising is not to impress others but to bring balance in our brain and body. That would be the best achievement in life. So be selfish when it comes to moving for fitness.

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