Very often recommended to relieve stress, sport would also be life-saving to protect the mental health of children, damaged by two years of pandemic. A study proves the benefits of sport, but in particular team sport, on their psychological state.
Dince the health crisis took hold in France 2 years ago, a sedentary lifestyle has imposed itself in the daily life of the French. Lack of social connections, distance education and bans on going out have had a major impact on children’s mental health. In 2021, a Jama Network study showed that suicide attempts among children were constantly increasing. Clearing one’s mind then became highly recommended so as not to implode and sport has established itself as a real outlet to avoid ruminating at home. But what is the real impact of sport, and in particular team sport, on the mental health of children?
An essential social bond
According to researchers at California State University, team sports would be good for children’s mental health, in terms of physical and psychological well-being but also for promote social ties. If the various confinements have highlighted the need to be in contact with others, several theories have confirmed it, the best known being Maslow’s pyramid which highlights the main needs of individuals, including social ties.
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To do this, the researchers analyzed data from 11,235 children aged 9 to 13. Scientists have thus noticed that children practicing a sporting activity in a group were less likely to show signs of anxiety, depression, isolation or attention problems (less than 10%). In addition, children who practice an individual sport compared to those who do not practice it at all are 16% more likely to be confronted with mental health concerns.
The stress remedy
It’s not new, sport is a good way to evacuate all the anxiety-provoking ideas that pollute our brains. “In anxious brains, neurotransmitters aren’t passed from cell to cell very efficiently, so they don’t flow through the brain as efficiently as they should. Exercise is one of the practices that can help regulate that,” Aaron Bonner-Jackson, a neuroscientist at the Cleveland Clinic, tells She.
If physical activity is so beneficial to health, it is because it releases the famous hormones of happiness: endorphins and dopamine. Sport would even reduce the risk of psychiatric illnesses, such as depression and anxiety.
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