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Ten sports for ten psychological problems

Boxing releases endorphins which naturally help to restore a positive mood.
Boxing releases endorphins which naturally help to restore a positive mood. / Fotolia
  • Yoga for anxiety, boxing for depression and running for insomnia are just some of the recommendations from a recent study

There are many forms of exercise. Choosing the right one, however, can go some way to treating specific mental health problems, according to a recent study, 'Sport and Mental Health'.

The research, carried out by Gympass, the biggest corporate health network in the world, and ifeel, a mobile application which connects individuals with psychologists, was conducted with the aim of addressing the most common psychological issues experienced by people in Spain.

They concluded that sport is not only crucial to both physical and mental wellbeing, but that partaking in certain activities can help address more specific difficulties.

While certain group activities may still be subject to government restrictions in accordance with the pandemic, the study's recommendations are as follows.

Anxiety - Yoga

Yoga is recommended for countering bouts of anxiety. The practice, which exercises us both physically and mentally, helps to control our breathing and is a positive outlet when it comes to managing our emotions.

Low self-esteem - Cycling

Ten sports for ten psychological problems

/ Fotolia

Pumping the legs on a bicycle or indoor cycling machine alleviates the struggle of low self-esteem, as it stimulates the pleasure-related neurotransmitters, improves quality of sleep and helps build muscle tone. Indoor cycling or spinning is particularly useful, as you can have the added benefit of surrounding yourself with good company or music.

Depression - Boxing

Experts suggest boxing to be the most useful discipline for people experiencing depression. Whether it be sparring in a ring or thumping a punchbag, the sport is superb for releasing endorphins which naturally restore one's mood.

Grief - Karate

For those who may have lost a loved one and are encountering a tough phase in life, martial arts such as karate encourage participants to let out their emotions while anchoring themselves in the here and now. Sports which involve contact, consciousness of the body and a controlled expense of energy are helpful during testing times.

Panic attacks - Pilates

If panic attacks are the problem, practising pilates could be the solution. Pilates commands us to master our bodies, giving rise to closer concentration and control over our impulses.

Insomnia - Running

Running can be a useful remedy for sleeplessness. The most accessible of aerobic activities, it improves blood circulation and stabilises the heart rate, in turn relaxing our bodies and facilitating better rest.

ADHD - Taichi

Taichi is a discipline which necessitates rigorous training, close concentration and close control over the body. Developing these skills and qualities is a sound approach for hyperactive personalities or people with ADHD.

Poor social skills - Team sports

Team sports such as football, basketball and rugby encourage more successful interactions between individuals who lack self-esteem and are looking to gain social skills. Group activities are rewarding because they require players to trust each other and exchange clear and simple messages with a view to achieving the same goal.

Relationship issues - Dance

While any activity practised in pairs can be beneficial, ballroom dancing is said to be the best ally for couples facing problems. Its requirement of physical contact and harmonised coordination can be fun, while its often non-verbal nature is a welcome change from more common modes of communication.

Loneliness - Swimming

Swimming is generally considered a more solitary pursuit and helps those struggling to be alone or who miss group activities. By nature, the discipline isolates swimmers from their busy surroundings, allowing them to focus solely on their lane and to block out other distractions.