Football has apparent physical health benefits. The benefits of mental health, on the other hand, are rarely discussed. However, a new study has finally established a link between the beautiful game and mental wellness, promising results.
Mental health encompasses a wide range of concerns, many of which can be influenced positively by being a football team member. But that’s not all: playing regularly enhances our social confidence and a sense of purpose.
Since the game’s inception, there has been anecdotal proof of this phenomenon. Ask any veteran player about the benefits, and they’ll tell you that they go far beyond what happens on the field. Being a part of something bigger than yourself and contributing to a sense of community are advantages that go beyond financial gain.
Exercise and Mental Health
Several facts and studies have demonstrated that mild depression reacts to exercise in the same way that antidepressant medicines do. The obvious benefit of using exercise is that playing football for an hour or two has no adverse consequences.
According to Harvard University research, running for just 15 minutes each day reduces the risk of major depression by 26%. The study also found that sticking to a regular fitness routine can help people avoid relapsing.
Inside the brain, exercise releases endorphins and other mood-enhancing substances. As a result, our mood is lifted by a mix of brain development, reduced inflammation, and new activity patterns. This explains why some people experience euphoria following strenuous activity.
People are experiencing more worry and anxiety due to the recent pandemic. In addition, focusing on financial, familial, or societal challenges might exacerbate mental health problems. However, playing football daily provides some escapism. Meeting with others dealing with similar issues might help put things into perspective. And being diverted for a few hours on a football field is an excellent approach to forget about life’s worries.
Improved Social Relationships
If there’s one thing this last year has taught us, it’s the value of community spirit and solidarity. Millions of people have been cut off from their communities for months, resulting in a global sense of perspective. We all require emotional ties, something that binds us together. Football is something for millions of people all around the world.
According to a recent study, football brings players and coaches from all areas of life together. The beautiful game is the common bond — and the stimulus for effective social connections. People can use their newfound relationships to better many elements of their lives, whether at home or work.
Suicide has been the leading cause of mortality among men under 34 since 2001. Suicide rates have risen in recent weeks due to loneliness and financial difficulties. On the other hand, football could offer a route back for many.
Weekly football sessions for adults with mental health concerns were a recent programme. To establish a “positive and inclusive” environment for football, four professional and semi-professional clubs linked up with organisers of a mental health anti-stigma foundation.
The programme began with non-competitive footballing exercises. This, however, did not go over well, and recruitment was slow. Nevertheless, the concept became a massive success after competitive action was introduced.
People who took part in the project praised the instructors for their effort and positive attitude. This fostered a sense of pride and determination in the participants, providing them more strength to combat their various mental health issues.
Forming new friendships and feeling at ease in social situations
Young players can establish new acquaintances outside their regular social groups by playing football and joining a new team. It can also help introverted and timid children become more comfortable in social circumstances.
Being a team member necessitates players learning to collaborate and care for one another both on and off the field. This can boost players’ empathy for one another and their self-esteem because they know they can count on and rely on their teammates, which is vital in life off the field.
Exercise is good for your mental health
Regular exercise is beneficial to mental health. When you combine this with grassroots football’s teamwork and social aspects, you have a potent weapon against depression, anxiety, tension, and low self-esteem.
Physical activity has been demonstrated to relieve depression symptoms as effectively as prescribed medication, with no adverse side effects. Regular exercise can also help treat severe, long-term mental illnesses, including depression and schizophrenia.
A More Cost-Effective Approach To Nation-Building
The NHS spends millions on depression and chronic mental health problems treatment programmes. However, a large portion of this money is spent on prescription medications imported from other countries. So is it possible that we’re missing out on a good opportunity?
According to the authors of this current study, a more systematic strategy should incorporate coordination between mental health care providers, football authorities, clubs, players, and coaches. They also recommend that professional clubs participate actively in football programmes to combat mental illness.
Football matches, and sometimes even training sessions, can be emotional roller coasters, and as players get more experience on the field, they will be able to handle certain emotions better.
For example, when players have poor performances or lose, they should learn to bounce back from defeat rather than dwelling on it. This may be carried over into everyday life as players will learn to deal with more negative emotions to a degree.
This contributes to a player’s resilience since they know not to be afraid of failure and setbacks but recognise that they can learn from them.
We at The Kick Company assist children of all ages in participating in and enjoying their favourite sports. We participate in sports because we want the game. We enjoy playing well. We enjoy practising because we enjoy the game we play.
While it is fashionable to win at all costs, this is not the case! Any of us could have begun playing right away. Why! We play because we’ve discovered what we enjoy doing. When we started to feel better, this is how we felt. It’s the individuals with whom we play the game, the community we create, the challenges we face in our sport, and the people who help us reach our objectives.