by MARY WURZBACHER '23
It is common knowledge that sports benefit your physical health, but what about your mental health? Today we’ll be exploring the positive effects group athletics can have on your psychological condition and emotional wellbeing. Through logical deduction and personal experiences, one can prove all the good team sports can do for you.
The simplest way to understand the effects of team sports is through basic logic, and connecting facts. NCBI, the National Center for Biotechnology Information, says that exercise releases endorphins. What are endorphins you ask? As defined by Merriam Webster, "endorphins are any of a group of endogenous peptides found especially in the brain that bind chiefly to opiate receptors and produce some pharmacological effects."
Yet a much simpler way to say that is: a chemical in your brain that makes you happy and relieves pain. So if exercise releases endorphins, and endorphins make you happy, then doing a sport would make you happier, right? The answer is a wholehearted yes! Now imagine if you’re going through some trying times, the extra happiness would certainly help.
Another way we can know some of the positive effects is through personal experiences. Avery Finley ‘23, a cross country runner, said, “I think it has made me stronger because I have learned to communicate and work with others and it also makes me happier because I get to make new friends and enjoy the joys of winning.”
Another participant of cross country and lacrosse, Maggie Spaeth ‘23, said that team sports have helped her persevere not only in the field but in the classroom as well. She also feels that when she goes out to practice lacrosse it makes her feel like the happiest person ever.
We also have tennis player Molly More ‘23 who said, “I feel participating in team sports has really impacted me mental health in a positive way! I have so many teammates that are always there to support and encourage me in whatever I am doing. When I feel supported, it helps me realize how loved I am and it keeps me pushing to try new challenges. Also, having teammates I can get so close with makes everything more fun which releases any stress I had before being with them.”
Similar to Molly, Rose Danenhauer ‘23, who played volleyball, appreciated having friends going into freshman year. While she felt pressure to get all of her homework done during school hours, she was glad to eliminate the social stresses of freshman year.
As you can see from the above there are many benefits to participating in a team sport. Such as social relief, lessened stress, increased happiness, better academic performance, and new friendships. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start playing!