July is full of many different sporting events, a few of which include Wimbledon tennis, the Tour de France, UEFA Women’s Euros and the Commonwealth games as well as many others. Therefore this month’s post is all about sport and the benefits it has for everyone, as well as how Sports Therapy can help athletes of all ages and abilities.
Sport and mental health
Exercise and sport in general is great for mental health. It is important to remember that as well as health benefits, sport has a massive impact on improving mental health. Those who exercise more regularly tend to have a better sense of well being through the release of endorphins (happy hormone), are more energetic and are usually more positive about themselves and situations.
Regular exercising has been proven to have a positive impact on mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety. Studies have shown that exercise for mild to moderate depression can be just as effective as antidepressant medication.
Exercising encourages lots of changes to the brain, including new activity patterns which can promote a feeling of calm. Exercise relieves stress and tension within the body and boosts mental and physical energy. The faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine UK stated that studies have shown that there is evidence that physical activity can reduce the risk of developing dementia for adults participating in physical activity daily.
Sport and physical health
As well as mental benefits to participating in sport and physical exercise, there are lots of physical health benefits too.
Along with having a good diet, exercise can help you to control your weight. Exercise can help increase metabolism as well as help to burn calories. It is important to note that exercise alone may not help you lose weight, but it will certainly start to put you on the right track when paired with a balanced diet.
Another important benefit of exercise is that it reduces the risks of heart diseases as exercise helps to strengthen your heart and improve circulation. The increased blood flow then increases the oxygen levels in your body, reducing the risk of heart diseases such as heart attacks and high cholesterol.
Exercise is important for people of all ages, whether that be adults or children. For the younger generation exercise really helps to strengthen the bones, and consequently from this, in later life exercise can help to slow down the loss of bone density which comes with age. Furthermore, exercise can help with physical injuries such as back pain. This is because when exercising we can focus on strengthening the muscles surrounding the spine, which can then help to alleviate stiffness and increase mobility and improve circulation in and around the spine
Benefits of Sports Therapy for athletes
It is important to remember that Sports Therapy is useful for all ages and abilities, whether they play sport or not, as it can help with anything from performing day to day tasks to improving sports performance. When exercising Sports Therapy brings a number of benefits including helping to reduce muscular tension, improving range of motion and helping with soft tissue healing. When suffering from an injury Sports Therapy is important as it can help to reduce inflammation to the affected area, reduce the build up of scar tissue and helps to increase strength to the affected tissues.
Sports Therapy is also important when recovering, or fully recovered from an injury, because it helps with injury prevention and it helps to reduce the risk of the same injury occurring again or even something worse. When we are recovering from an injury there are still some weaknesses within the muscles, tendons and ligaments depending on what injury has occurred. It is therefore important to continue to strengthen these areas and promote healing to the area through the use of Sports Therapy.
Lots of athletes and people who exercise regularly will often have a regular sports massage. Sports massage has many benefits as the effects of the massage encourage the healing process and promote muscle recovery. Sports massage is a form of deep tissue massage which involves the manipulation of the soft tissue relieving pain, tightness and increasing mobility. Sports massage also helps with anything from muscular tension and soreness to muscle imbalances and any injuries which may occur.
Recovery after exercise
Recovery after exercise is something which is often neglected by many of us because either we don’t think it is necessary or we forget about it. When in fact, rest and recovery are the most important elements which help enhance performance. Taking the time to rest can sometimes be difficult; however it is vital you do so.
When exercising you expose your body to different stresses which the body needs to adapt to in order to see progression and improvement, this is therefore where the recovery stage comes into place.
Here are a few tips on how to maximise your recovery to get the most out of it:
1) Rest – one of the most important ways to help your body to recover from the physical demands of training. And remember, rest means rest!
2) Hydration – it is vital to stay properly hydrated when recovering and also during exercise
3) Food – it is important to be eating a balanced diet as well to ensure that our bodies can restore their energy supply needed for exercise
4) Massage – as previously mentioned, massage is important as it helps to loosen up the muscles, increase the oxygen and blood flow to the muscles, reduce lactic acid build up as well as deliver nutrients from your body to the muscles.
I hope this gives you a bit more of an insight into the benefits of exercising and how Sports Therapy can help. Please make sure to also check out Luke’s video linked below to get some more tips on how to stay happy and healthy this summer.
Abi, Sports Therapist
Click HERE to watch Luke’s video.