By Ken Reed
Dr. Monnica T. Williams, a licensed clinical psychologist and associate professor at the University of Ottawa, wrote an important article about the value of exercise on mental health for Psychology Today last month. In the article, she outlined why exercise can be as positive for mental health as it is for physical health.
“Most people do not realize that aerobic exercise is good not just for your body but for your psyche as well,” wrote Williams.
“Although most consider psychotherapy or medications to be the frontline approach for psychological disorders, exercise remains underappreciated as a free and fun remedy for numerous mental health concerns.”
Wiliams points out several studies that reveal how regular exercise reduces the symptoms of OCD, depression, PTSD, ADHD, and other mental health challenges.
“In light of these findings, public schools should think twice about eliminating PE and shrinking recess time for students,” wrote Williams.
Williams believes sports participation can be even better than exercising on your own because the people connection in sports is also beneficial for mental health.
As Williams points out:
“Research shows that participating in sports helps people develop better social skills, improves self-esteem, fosters self-confidence, improves self-control, and leads to greater competence. Further, people who engage in sports have fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety.” (Hiremath, 2019)
While she pushes for increased sports participation — especially for young people — she does caution against sports that involve regular blows to the head, due to the increased risk of brain injuries that can result in several persistent mental health issues, including post-concussive syndrome.
Bottom line, Williams’ message to all of us is get up and move! She’s confident we’ll feel better physically and mentally.
[Hiremath, C. (2019). Impact of sports on mental health. International Journal of Physiology, Nutrition and Physical Education]
—Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Follow on Facebook: @SportsForumPodcast
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
Episode #22 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Rethinking Sports Fandom with Author Craig Calcaterra – We discuss Calcaterra’s new book “Rethinking Fandom: How to Beat the Sports-Industrial Complex at Its Own Game” and explore new ways to be a fan.
Episode #21 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Chatting About a Broken Game With Baseball Writer Pedro Moura – Moura is a national baseball writer for Fox Sports. We discuss how and why the game of baseball is broken, what factors caused it, and offer a few thoughts on how to “fix” a great game.
Episode #20 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Coaching Youth and High School Sports Based On What’s Best for the Athlete’s Holistic Development – We chat with long-time youth, high school and college basketball coach Jim Huber.
Episode #19 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Capturing the Spirit of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League with Anika Orrock – We discuss the hoops AAGPFL women had to jump through to play the game they loved as well as the long-term impact and legacy they have in advancing sports opportunities for girls and women.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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