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Playing sports can improve mental health

Researchers say these activities can be a great way for the whole family to stay healthy

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Photo (c) AzmanJaka - Getty Images
While previous studies have highlighted how exercise can be beneficial for consumers’ mental health, especially during times of social isolation, a new study found how sports can similarly boost cognitive function. 

According to researchers from the University of Basel, staying active is crucial for consumers’ mental faculties. Engaging in sports or games that allow players to interact with one another were found to be the most beneficial for improving cognitive function. 

“To coordinate during a sport seems to be even more important than the total volume of sporting activity,” said researcher Dr. Sebastian Ludyga. 

Sports and mental health

To better understand what kinds of sports or games could most benefit consumers’ mental health, the researchers analyzed 80 previous studies that explored various pros and cons of physical activity. 

Their work revealed that staying active is a great way for consumers of all ages to maintain strong cognitive abilities; however, certain types of games proved to have better results than others. 

The researchers learned that the mental aspects of sports were what most benefited consumers. Having a challenge to conquer in the game yielded the greatest cognitive aspects, as did sports that required intricate physical movements and player-to-player interactions. 

It’s also important to note that men and women responded differently to physical activity. The researchers explained that ramping up the intensity of the sport was beneficial for men’s mental health and could provide longer lasting benefits. However, women were less likely to reap the cognitive benefits when this was the case. 

The findings also suggest that families can benefit from incorporating more sports or games into their routines, especially while at home. Because the mental benefits were unanimous among all of the age groups identified, exercising in this way can increase both mental and physical health for kids and their parents. 

With social interactions on the decline as of late, starting a family-wide game can be a great way for consumers to keep their spirits up while also getting exercise in. 

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