AD | I don’t talk about sport much on my blog as I realise I probably don’t have the audience for it. However, I do talk about well-being, self care and mental health a fair bit. And by a fair bit, I mean all the time. I love to delve into different areas of these topics and approach them from different angles. So today I want to talk about the connection between sport and mental health and well-being.

I’ve always been around sport and enjoyed sport. My Dad’s been a lifelong football fan (and was also an EXTREMELY good player in his youth) and as a kid I was always getting involved in sport at school. Even nabbing myself some cricket certificates at primary school!

Moving into secondary school, I threw myself into sports even more. I did various after school clubs, including badminton, tennis, dance and trampolining. And when it came time to choose our GCSE’s, I took additional Physical Education. So between the ages of 14 and 16, sport was basically my entire life. If I wasn’t playing it, I was learning about it.

I had a pretty hefty sports hiatus from 2011 for around 7 years, when my anxiety disorder got so bad that I could barely leave my bedroom, let alone go and play a sport. But then I met my Formula 1 and Motorsport mad boyfriend. Carl got me into Motor Racing, in particular Formula 1, World Endurance, DTM and GT racing.

Watching Formula 1 and Motorsport has had a hugely positive impact on my mental health and well-being. After this last year and a long Winter, the 2021 season couldn’t have come quick enough! If you need catching up, here’s a guide to the 2021 Formula 1 season.

I’ve also come to love Snooker – and Carl, my Dad and I are members of our local Snooker club!

I think sport can affect your mental health and well-being differently to exercise and working out. Of course those two things are incredibly important for your physical and mental well-being and since I started exercising properly again and prioritizing moving my body more, I’ve felt 10x better.

But the world of sport – whether you watch or play – can have so many additional benefits. If you’re a sport fan – whether that’s Formula 1, football, tennis, snooker or something else entirely – I’d love to hear whether you experience any of the same benefits as me!

Feeling part of a community

Sporting communities can be huge and incredibly passionate. Knowing that you all have this one likeminded love for the sport you’re watching can be incredibly powerful and boost your sense of belonging. I feel like this when I go to race tracks. It’s amazing being around so many racing fans!

Stronger connections to loved ones

Motorsport has brought my boyfriend and I closer than I ever thought we could be. In fact, if I didn’t love it as much as I did, our relationship would be very different because it makes up a huge part of who we are as a couple now.

And since I’ve learned how to play Snooker and fallen in love with that too, I’ve also got closer to my Dad and spend much more time with him when we go down the Snooker club together. So for that reason, sport has brought me closer to loved ones.

Allows me to learn something new

The same thing happened when I started to get interested in Formula 1 and Snooker. I suddenly wanted to learn everything about it! I watched endless racing documentaries, asked Carl a million questions about every element of the sport.

Sport is much more than just the game itself. There’s history behind it, rules to be learned and lessons to be established from it. And that’s what I love learning about so much.

Helps me focus

This is particularly true when I’m playing Snooker. It really helps me focus because Snooker is such a tactful and precise game, you can’t afford to be looking elsewhere or thinking of what you’re having for dinner that night whilst playing!

I also love that it gets me out of my own head and allows me to be fully present in the moment on what I’m doing. A skill that I can transfer to other areas of my life.

It’s inspiring

And finally… sport is just inspiring as heck. The triumphs, the comebacks, the achievements. How can you not want to strive to be your best self when you’re watching sport? I know for me, as cheesy as this sounds, I’ve been incredibly inspired by the likes of Lewis Hamilton, from his outrageous achievements in F1 to his uplifting messages on social media.

If you’re a sport lover, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic! How has it affected your mental health and well-being?

67 Comments

  1. Hello!
    I am all about well-being, self-care and mental health. I agree that โ€œthe world of sports whether you watch, or play can have so many additional benefits.โ€ I have played sports my whole life and I come from a huge sports family. I grew up with sports always on the T.V. and always going to games. Looking back without sports I wouldnโ€™t have had the community that I have today. I think itโ€™s really cool too that as you grow up and travel, you can come to a new town or city, mention that you are a part of the sports community and you can always find someone that is too. This has been a great bonding point that I have found over the years and it has helped me meet so many interesting people. Itโ€™s a sense of family and feeling at home when you are a part of the world of sports. I have also gained so much confidence in myself and my motivation that I have to keep working on my skills has grown over the years. I have so much to thank sports for I could go on for days, but the biggest thing is that without sports I wouldnโ€™t be the person that I am today.
    Thank you so much for sharing!

  2. Hi
    I enjoyed your article you are such a wonderful content writer
    One thing I want to add is mental health can be improved by focusing on one thing and moreover mental health can be improved by doing meditation there is no other better solution than this and Jenny in your content you have written is absolutely amazing I felt all of it I am a sports person in my point of view you can also add about yoga and meditation on the basis of mental health. Hope you take it in positive way!
    I really enjoyed your article Jenny.
    Thanks
    Regards
    Yashika

  3. Fab post, I used to have a love-hate relationship with sport at school. I loved rounders, gymnastics and running but hated everything else! Definitely agree with feeling part of the community, it’s an amazing feeling to feel supported by a team of people x

  4. This is brilliant to read. Iโ€™m not really a good fitness freak but I have noticed how much of a difference it can make to my mental health. Iโ€™m trying to take things slowly right now and do little things at a time and then let it build up ๐Ÿ™‚ thank you for sharing x

  5. I love living an active life. It has helped me so much with my mental health. I started running over two years and it is amazing. However, I love trying sports. I wanted to try paddle boarding. This is an amazing post. Thank you for sharing.

    goalofhappiness.com

  6. I totally get the dance connection. I just always associated dance for myself with clubbing…and I stopped doing that a while ago! But pre-pandemic I had just as much fun at a Zumba class. Can’t wait to try that again.

  7. I danced for ten years when I was younger and had some really good friends through it, definitely had a benefit. Sports, and my fitness as a whole, has gone downhill a lot over the last few years. Have tried both archery and fencing though, which I loved! (Albeit only done both a couple of times).

  8. I could totally relate to your post, but in my case, it wasn’t sports but dance. I believe dance is a form of fitness but an art. I experienced the same as you and stopped dancing and realised that I refrained myself to be where I really belong. Dance definitely makes me feel alive and like home . I feel empowered THROUGH DANCE.

  9. Thanks for sharing your experiences. I have found in my own life this very explicit connection between fitness and wellness–especially the mental aspects of wellness.

    For one, feeling “right” in my body can only come to me through fitness. It won’t surprise you to think that a non-binary person has body image issues, and I have found that being fit, exercising, has helped tremendously in healing my own feelings about what I look like. There are many paths through fitness, and being happy with my body is its most important physical aspect.

    But mentally, it is hard to live without. Sport clears the mind of junk. As a busy, travelling, executive, my stresses are high, so too the consequent mental junk that comes with that. There is nothing like a hard, challenging, painful workout to clear out the junk.

    In short, fitness is very therapeutic…for the body, for the mind.

  10. Oh my gosh oh my gosh oh my gosh you’re a Formula One fan! So am I!!! Well, for me it’s Formula One and NASCAR, though I do watch some other forms of motorsport sometimes. Don’t get me started on Mazepin though. What a menace on and off the track…

    Anyway, sports serve as a nice distraction at times from the seriousness of certain parts of the “real world” for me. Which made the whole COVID situation disconcerting last spring–one of the things that served as a distraction was away (it was the right thing to do at the time, but it was still disconcerting).

      1. Hmmm…the Spanish Grand Prix was okay to my way of thinking. Not great, not horrible, but simply okay. The DRS Zone on the pit straight is a bit short and as a result really limits overtaking opportunities unless you have a vastly superior car (like Hamilton had at the end because he had fresher tyres than Verstappen). From a strategy standpoint it was a fascinating race though and I made the mistake of doubting the strategy of the Mercedes camp.

        What did you think of the race?

      2. I enjoyed the race. As Spain goes, it wasnโ€™t awful. Because letโ€™s be honest, Spain usually is. I donโ€™t mind the shorter DRS zone on the straight tbh because I donโ€™t like seeing those super easy DRS overtakes. I think DRS should be an aid to help but not something that allows them to sail past. Strategy was great – Mercedes just killed it. Although Iโ€™m a max fan – so a bit sad about the result!

      3. You are definitely right that Spain usually is an awful race. But as far as DRS zones go, I’m not a fan of the huge ones (like what was at Portimao last year I think, though they shortened it for this year), but I’m also not wild about a shorter one like the one at Spain. I’m sounding like Goldilocks–not too long, not too short. I’m a fan of Lewis so I was pumped though, even if it was not the most exciting race ever!

      4. Haha! No I totally get what you mean. Thereโ€™s definitely a fine line for the DRS zones. I like Lewis but Iโ€™m definitely team Max for the championship this year!

  11. I donโ€™t watch many sports, but I really enjoy watching golf. Me and my husband loved watching the Masters together recently. I do love exercising though. Dancing is probably my favourite as itโ€™s so much fun and genuinely makes me happy. My mental health and well-being is much better when Iโ€™m getting regular exercise, itโ€™s a buzz like no other! X

  12. I’m really not a sports person but my boyfriend loves speedway. I love the community that comes with it and enjoy speaking to people when we go.

  13. I could so connect to your post. I had been a big fan of cricket since childhood. We, as a family, used to watch all the seasons of World Cup and other tournaments and I have very fond memories of those times. I used to play table tennis in high school. But just like you, I too had a hiatus of around 10 years but then again I got a chance to reconnect to table tennis and cricket. Canโ€™t agree more on the fact that sports bring cheerfulness to our lives by making our relationships more meaningful and keeping our spirits up.

  14. Thank you for sharing Jenny, Iโ€™ve found fitness helpful for my well-being during lockdown and itโ€™s been very refreshing ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. You have such a great sportive story! It’s incredible all the things you did, first with your father and now with your boyfriend. I do my daily exercises each morning, and I renate every time. When I was younger I danced, I swam and I dreamed of doing artistic gymnastics. It’s so good to do sports, both for the body and mind ๐Ÿ™‚

    xx Dasynka
    https://dasynka.com/

  16. I love college basketball! I had a rival team against my dads team and it was so much energy when they both played one another. Since he passed away I havenโ€™t watched it though, too many memories flood back. Anyway, itโ€™s awesome you like Formula 1. I like watching 4 wheeling videos with my boyfriend.

  17. When I started skiing, I did so to find community, and to get out more. But I also I ended up finding a new passion. And an injured knee, but I blame that on the rental place not setting my bindings properly.

  18. I love that you and your Dad are members of a Snooker club! I like playing snooker, I’m not brilliant at it but I still love playing! Sport has helped my mental health so much, I watch football every week and it has certainly helped my mental health and wellbeing, it keeps me going! x

    Lucy | http://www.lucymary.co.uk

  19. Iโ€™m glad youโ€™ve been able to find a sport you can connect to! Youโ€™ve outlined so many benefits when we have sports in our lives! For me, being able to walk for an hour a day is mandatory for my own mental health. In 2019, I suffered nerve damage in my foot and couldnโ€™t walk for over 4 months which definitely took its toll on my mental health. Iโ€™ll never take walking for granted every again. Great post!

  20. Loved reading this and it’s amazing that you and your family bond over sport! I am sure it’s amazing to spend time together and love that you can learn something new in the meantime! OI am not the sportiest but my sister and I watch basketball together sometimes and it’s always great to bond over it x

  21. This is so amazing to read. I’ve never really been big on exercising even tho most of my family are runners. I’ve been running on and off for over a year and my mind feels so much happier for it. I can really tell when I need a run because my brain feels really disorganised!

    Rosie

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