How Playing Sports Affects the Brain
How Playing Sports Affects the Brain

National Fitness and Sports Month: How Playing Sports Affects Your Brain

Last week we discussed some ways you can get more active with your pet. We hope you’ve been trying a few of the fun ways to exercise with your dog or cat. As National Physical Fitness and Sports Month continues, let's take a closer look at how sports impact your health.

Everyone loves an underdog story. The victory of an underdog team over the favorite is exciting. Scoring a final point in the last 30 seconds of the game – that’s electrifying. Sports offer a lot of fun and excitement, but are there really any brain health benefits that come with playing sports?

Yes! Some of the brain benefits of playing a sport include:

Benefit #1 – Boosts Blood Flow to the Brain
Research shows that playing sports boosts blood flow to your brain. This enables your body to build more connections between nerves within the brain. This improves memory, stimulates creativity, and helps your brain develop better problem-solving skills.

Benefit #2 – Improves Brain Function
One study found that playing sports can improve brain function. It also showed that just being a sports fan may have a positive impact on your brain. Playing or watching sports can have an effect on the neural networks that support language comprehension.

Benefit #3 – Promotes Stress Relief
Engaging in sports promotes stress relief. This releases feel-good brain chemicals that boost your mood. You’ll also burn off more of the stress hormone adrenaline while playing sports, which can promote relaxation.

Benefit #4 – Keeps Concentration and Critical Thinking Skills Sharp
Studies show that participating in sports can keep your concentration and critical thinking skills sharp, as you age. Sports that have a mix of muscle-strengthening and aerobic activity are especially beneficial.

Benefit #5 – Social Interaction
Social interaction is essential for a healthy brain – it improves mood and reduces stress. Playing a sport reduces problems with social isolation, gives you a chance to make new friends, and allows you to lay aside worries while you enjoy some fun with other people.

National Physical Fitness and Sports Month is the perfect time to start playing a new sport. Ready to give sports a try? Stay tuned. Next week we’ll be offering some fun sports ideas you can try so you can enjoy those brain benefits.