We are all aware of the benefits of exercise, such as improved overall health, reduced risk of serious diseases, lower blood pressure and a strong, toned body. But health isn’t just about being physically strong and healthy, it’s about your mental health.
There are also significant benefits arising from the social aspects of exercise. Meeting and catching up with friends can be as important as the physical aspects.
One of the most obvious benefits is having others pushing you to do your best. Some exercise can be a lonely experience and all it takes is a friend to say “you’ve got this” to keep you going.
This can be particularly important to those who may struggle with exercise, whether it’s to do with the physical or simply not feeling completely comfortable being at a gym or sports centre.
Friendship and Community
Joining a new team sport or group session is an excellent way of meeting new people, or growing your current circle of friends.
This can be especially important to those whose social circle is small or has shrunk over the years. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a team sport either, with groups for just about every activity existing.
Team Building and Skills
Working with others is a key skill in many parts of our lives, but it can be something that we struggle with, or simply need more practice with. Team sports can build those skills in a fun, low pressured environment.
The idea of wanting to do our best for our team will always push us to want to do better, be stronger. When we work as a team, we won’t mind putting in twice the effort to getting fitter, to be conscientious about others on the team – all of our wellbeing and skills are important. It’s about working together.
Dealing with Negative Emotions
When exercising it is always natural to be hit with a range of negativity – that’s a side effect of pushing ourselves and us wanting to go further than we currently can. But what exercise gives is a healthy space to experience emotions such as stress, anger and frustration. When we exercise we not only become more aware of our physical strength, but of our emotional strength too.
Learning to deal with these emotions (or simply exercising them out of your system altogether) is going to have a big effect on your social skills. You may be less likely to dwell on certain feelings, and to address those feelings before they spiral.
Exercise is also good for the mind. Humans are naturally social creatures and whether you’re looking for more motivation or to make new friends, there is definitely a social side to sports and exercise that can have a positive impact on us.