Did you know that exercise is one of the best ways to improve mental health?
Let’s take a look on some of the positive effects of physical activity! Here is our list for the top 6 benefits of physical activity on mental health:
- Boost happy chemicals
Exercise makes the body generate more of the feel-good-hormones called endorphins. Endorphins are the chemicals that are produced when you are for example laughing. They trigger a positive feeling while reducing your perception of pain. Ever heard of the “runner’s high” effect? – Endorphins are responsible for that! Studies have shown, that the more intense the exercises, the more endorphins are produced. So if you want to boost your happy chemicals level, start your high-intensity-interval training right now!
- Reduce depression
“Exercise is an all-natural treatment to fight depression” says the Harvard Medical School in one of their health letters. Exercise can sometimes even be as effective as antidepressants. Physical activity (such as padel, sports, yoga etc.) supports the growth and connection of nerve cells in the mood-center of your brain – the so-called hippocampus. This ultimately helps relieve depression and improves mental health.
- Reduce stress
There are variant reasons why you might undergo stress: it can be a result of tension, a feeling of frustration, nervousness or hope deferred. When the body reacts to challenging situations, the outcome is stress. Studies have shown that exercise is a means of riffing oneself of stress, it makes the heart pump faster and enables you to shed off stress as much as possible.
- Improve self-confidence
Physical activity can help you improve significantly on the level of your self-confidence. If you stick to your plan and exercise regularly, you will notice that your physical fitness, strength and stamina constantly improve. If you begin anew, you will see a lot of progress, especially in the first weeks. When you realize that you physically improve you will also feel mentally stronger, more confident. The better you feel, the happier your mood will be. And if you are able to find a physical activity that you can do outside – like padel, swimming, soccer, rugby, rock climbing, hiking etc. – then you will also get a boost in Vitamin D, reducing the likelihood of depression.
- Reduce anxiety
Anxiety is often caused by worry. There are so many people with one thing or the other they worry about, some are avoidable, others are not, but one thing that studies have shown to reduce anxiety is bodily exercise. The chemicals expelled from the body during a workout session is very effective when dealing with anxiety disorders. There’s scientific proof that even low-intensity sessions reduce anxiety.
- Prevent cognitive decline
Physical activity does not only work as a method of prevention for cognitive decline, but it also reduces the risk of developing dementia. It aids in the regeneration of brain cells that diseases such as Alzheimer’s tend to kill off. But even better: If you are regularly playing padel, rugby, soccer, tennis, practice yoga, or do any other physical activity, then your learning and memory abilities will also improve. Even your ability to focus and concentrate will increase.
Can playing a sport like padel help your mental health?
One of our biggest challenges is to use our club as a welfare hub for not only people looking to try a new sport but also to help them mentally.
The ethics of our club environment ‘Padel for everyone’ is vital to make sure everyone is welcome at our centres, so they can enjoy the sport, socialise and be part of a healthy community.
So yes we believe playing padel can really improve people’s mental health but the club aspect can really add more happiness and self-worth to those that need it most!
We caught up with one of our younger players Finn Syder – who has had struggles in the past – and, very bravely he explains what padel and playing at Go Padel Uk has done for him:
How did you feel before padel came into your life?
Well before padel I was playing sport but inconsistently because of my illness which had a huge effect on my mental health at the time, sport is always a huge outlet for me but sustaining it was the issue.
What was it like turning up at Go Padel UK for the first time?
At first I only knew a few people at the club so I lacked the confidence and courage to talk to any other members.
What if any relationships have you formed since then?
When I’m at the club now I know the majority of the members and they know me! I have now created many friendships which has given me so much more confidence in my everyday life and I now really believe In myself!
What next for you on the court?
The years have flown by playing at the club and I love coming down to play and see who is playing, even if you’re not playing it’s a great place to catch up with friends. I also have enjoyed helping others with their padel like people helped me its very rewarding!
We are very proud of Finn who was too modest to say he was invited to the national british trials in 2019!
That’s Finn on the right!
Go Padel UK – More than just a game!
Probably the friendliest and fastest growing padel club in the UK.
These two things are connected!
Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Service (EWMHS) caters for young people in Essex up to the age of 18, or up to 25 with special educational needs.
Accessing therapy and counselling services:
Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services are available from your local NHS Partnership Trust. You can be referred by your doctor, or you can refer yourself online. They also offer self-help online resources and have an index of mental health services in your area.
NHS Choices has a useful video about different types of therapies and how they can help.
Supporting someone with their mental health:
If you have a family member or friend who is struggling with their mental health, you may have a lot of questions about diagnosis, care, and treatment.
- You can find out what support is available for carers in Essex on our pages on Looking after someone.
- Mind offers advice on how to cope when supporting someone else.
- The Royal College of Psychiatrists has a checklist for carers on questions to ask the psychiatrist.
REACH OUT AND GET THE HELP YOU NEED – DON’T HESITATE!