This is a guest post by Nick Johnson, a marketing specialist and editor for Performance ATV, an ATV parts supplier and manufacturer. In his spare time, he enjoys writing about the outdoors. He is also an avid adventurer, always looking for ways to spend time in nature and explore new sights.
For most people, daily routines are very fast paced compared to what our parents or grandparents experienced. It’s not that they weren’t hard workers. In fact, I would argue that our grandparents worked harder than we did in a day. But it was often a different kind of work.
These days, there are so many tech devices that consume our time.
In the workplace, things are often very stressful because of deadlines, meetings and tight schedules. Away from work, there are other factors that contribute to our stress levels. Even though we don’t often realize it, our kids get stressed out too.
So how can we effectively relieve stress in a natural, healthy way?
In a recent study, the American Council on Exercise reported that sports and exercise are a great way to help control stress.
A regular routine of sports and exercise can increase the endorphin response in the brain, which affects our mood in a positive way. Participating in sports can also reduce heart rate and blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels. The American Diabetes Association even recommends taking up a sport to help your body more effectively process the tension from stress.
Here are ways that participating in sports can be a stress reliever, as well contribute to better physical and mental health:
1. Exercise Routine.
Many people are content with just having a good workout at home or at the gym. And that actually works great if you push yourself enough to raise your heartbeat and break a sweat during your routine. That sweat release is where endorphins usually start to work to improve our mood.
Besides keeping your mental state healthy, exercise also contributes to improved physical fitness and heart health.
2. Healthy Eating Habits.
A lifestyle with a healthy dose of good sporting habits can also lead to healthier eating habits. For a long time now, many studies have shown that eating healthy contributes to a better physical and mental state. Prevention magazine lists 13 foods that are specifically connected to reducing stress and depression.
3. Active Lifestyle.
One of the best ways to relieve stress outside of the gym is participating in a sport, such as tennis, cycling or distance running.
The great advantage of outdoor sports is the ability to relieve some stress while you are taking in some fresh air. And with cycling or running, you also get the added benefit of taking in some sights as well.
4. Build self-esteem.
Instead of confining yourself to a corner and not working on the things that could develop your personality and social skills, participating in sports events can level-up your self-esteem.
Participating in sports also gives you the opportunity to meet other athletes that share similar goals to maintain an active lifestyle.
Participating in sports events also gives you the opportunity to travel and see places that are breathtaking. Most competitive team sports travel to other cities and countries. The Olympics are a great example, but most of us aren’t quite up to Olympic standards.
For everyday enthusiasts, sports like hiking, mountain biking and cross-country running give you the opportunity to explore new trails, and areas that you’ve never seen. Just being in nature, and away from all the technology and city life is relaxing and relieves stress.
6. Off-road Sports.
There are other sports such as Motocross and ATV Riding that are extremely fun, although some people might not see these as forms of exercise. But the Health Fitness Revolution says that Dirt bike riding increases your heart rate in a way that is comparable to jogging or low-level endurance exercise. And if you’ve ever been ATV mudding, or seen the videos of ATV enthusiasts, you will understand why this growing off-road sport can be even more intense than dirt bike riding.
In every aspect, sports can promote a healthier lifestyle.
Participating in a recreational sport diverts your attention away from stress and anxiety because athletes focus closely on competing rather than thinking about life events that often cause stress.
A body that is more physically fit and a mind that is more emotionally fit are much more effective at handling stress than those who are in an unhealthy state.
Stress is a factor that affects everyone today, but athletes have a better ability to cope with stress through physical activity. With the amount of intensity required for training, game events, and even recreational sports, it would seem that an athlete would have some sports-related stress. However, considering how participating in sports can eliminate stress, having that properly balanced mood through sports and exercise keeps athletes healthier than the ordinary person who leads a less than active lifestyle.