Benefits of playing Football – Part 10
Football as a result of the two points in the last post can also lead to less depression and anxiety issues. I should point out that is not just relative to these two it is a consistent theme throughout footballs benefits to mental health. This won’t be the last time I bring these up. Anyways back to the point. Body image issues is the main culprit when talking about depression and anxiety to do with someone’s physical appearance. By releasing endorphins whilst playing football someone is less likely to suffer from depression or if the individual is already suffering from depression may lessen the extent of it.
Similarly, with anxiety, if someone is anxious about how they look and they start playing football and over a season start seeing some physiological changes then they would have less anxiety over how they look. This works also works by reducing the stress levels associated with anxiety which lowers cortisol levels. Cortisol is the stress hormone and I think (not a doctor) can lead to weight gain through disrupted sleep patterns. I also hypothesize (not a doctor but used a big word to sound smart) that spiked cortisol levels directly relate to the cravings we sometimes get when we are stressed or anxious. One of them being overeating.
From a social standpoint it feels good to belong to something. The vast majority of us want to be a part of a team, group or culture. Football provides this as it is a team sport making people interact and work together towards a common goal all of which I covered in a previous post. Having that sense of belonging can help elevate someone’s self esteem leading to less of chance of developing mental health issues. One of the best parts about football is you don’t have to even be a player to be able to enjoy these aspects. There are thousands and thousands of supporter groups out there for people who don’t play but have a favorite team. They may simply support a team because their partner does or because their friends do but even still they have an opportunity to belong to a group
Similarly, it can also help relax individuals as they have a group of friends who they can trust, maybe they feel more comfortable talking about things in front of group rather than just one individual. By being able to talk about things, get advice on the little things and be reassured that everything is ok individuals will feel less stressed and anxious leading to better mental health overall.