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Mental Health

College Sports Improve the Mental Health of Student Players

— January 18, 2023

Team sports offer many health benefits for college athletes.

While many students enjoy college sports because of the physical fun that it provides and, often, the scholarship opportunities it offers, others love to play sports because of the mental health aspects of it. There are multiple studies that show playing particular sports have great psychological benefits that go far beyond making a person physically fit.

Whether playing football, soccer, baseball, basketball, or another type of sport, the biggest benefit that these opportunities can give young players is an elevation of mood. It has been proven that physical activity will make a person feel happier because it stimulates the human brain and releases hormones that will give you feelings of intense pleasure.

The same hormones are released when someone goes on a long walk, takes a bike ride, or hits the gym. Doing any one of these things on a regular basis release much-needed feel-good hormones that make people feel more content, even when they aren’t actively working out or playing team sports.

College Sports Improve the Mental Health of Student Players
Photo by Tim Mossholder from Pexels

Beyond the happiness that college sports bring, anxiety and stress also naturally decrease. Getting physical in a game, whether it be on a court or field, will make most people shed some of the anger, stress, and anxiety that is weighing them down.

The team-building aspect of playing sports is something that is particularly beneficial to athletes. When someone plays a sport, they do so with a team and everyone works together to achieve the clear goal of victory. This means that communication is key and that is a great way to work through stress as well. Working well with others is a great way to feel happy, less stress, and part of a larger unit.

Research has shown that adequate sleep is vital to remaining healthy. Playing in sports might provide that better than any pill could. Many young college students claim that they get a deep, refreshing night of rest when they participate in sports. Far too many people, especially young people, spend the final hours of the day on their phones or watching television. But those playing sports find they have no problem closing their eyes when they want and sleeping all night without the usual sleep disturbances.

Sleeping well does not just heal the body and prepare it to successfully play more games, but it also helps people with their jobs and their schooling. A well-rested person is more attentive, more focused, and quicker to learn things and retain information.

Beyond all of that, playing sports is a great way to improve one’s social standing and make friends. People grow incredibly close with their teammates because they build a camaraderie that is second to none and is built to last. Therefore, playing sports can help people feel like they belong, more confident, and able to be more socially adept.

The psychology of sports has been studied for a long time and one thing is clear: the benefits that come with playing go far beyond just winning trophies. Playing sports is not only great for college players, but people of all ages looking to improve their lives.


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