Whether you’re taking client calls or meeting deadlines, the working week can often be a stressful time. But it’s important to leave room in your schedule, either after work or on a weekend, to relieve some stress through sport – and not only is it an enjoyable activity to engage in, but it also benefits your mental well-being, which can improve your work performance by increasing productivity.
But what sports should you partake in to blow off some steam and boost your well-being? Here, we explore various sports for you to unload stress from your busy schedule.
Enhance your strategical thinking in tennis
Tennis can burn as many as 560 calories in one hour of a singles game. So if you’ve spent your day stressed in your office chair completing various tasks, you can compensate by partaking in this aerobic exercise.
Endorphins, known as the feel-good chemical, are produced to cope with stress – and a high amount of these are released through various elements of the sport such as hand-eye coordination, sprinting, pivoting, and slams.
As a result, your productivity is increased, which contributes to your performance at work. And it’s an opportunity to relieve stress by working out the muscle tension in your body.
Thinking quickly is an important part of this sport, so regularly playing with a partner will also build your mental muscles by boosting your strategic thinking.
Not to mention tennis attire is a dashing look to say the least – you can sport plenty of your favourite polo shirts. And if you’re unfortunate enough to lose, you can be confident knowing you at least take the crown for the best-dressed against your opponent.
Achieving goals through running
Arguably the easiest sport is running; there are no rules, and it doesn’t consist of the complications that sometimes occur with opponents. It is one of the most effective sports though, and it burns more calories than any other.
This is a great sport to set goals for yourself and achieve accomplishments. Doing so improves your mental well-being by guiding your focus, rewarding yourself, and encouraging positive behaviours. You may want to set yourself the goal of beating the average time to run a 5K, which is around 30–40 minutes.
Running for just 20 minutes is enough to give you a runner’s high, which refers to the release of endorphins that sends your body into a euphoric state.
So it’s a no-brainer to make time for running, as you will undoubtedly unload some stress and unlock the best version of yourself for work.
Boost your self-esteem with football
Playing football has many benefits, besides the entertaining element. While you may enjoy the excitement and adrenaline of watching a game, a simple 5-a-side match can count towards your recommended amount of aerobic activity of 150 minutes per week.
If you haven’t yet mastered the sport, 5-a-side is a perfect way to do so, as it is 50 minutes rather than the typical 90 minutes. Over time, you can progress and eventually play for longer when you feel capable.
Football is known for reducing the risk of chronic illnesses like heart disease, stroke, and type two diabetes, meaning it is a healthy way to have fun.
And this particular sport can improve your cardiovascular health and reduce body fat, so it contributes positively to your self-esteem. In fact, research shows that team sports in general can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression by boosting your motivation and focus.
Incorporate bonding time by cycling
As well as being a great cardiovascular activity, cycling is a pleasant sport – especially in the warmer months.
On a summer’s day, it’s a perfect opportunity to cycle around your local area and witness some breath-taking views, something that cycling enthusiasts who live near the countryside will certainly be familiar with.
But apart from this, cycling can reduce the chances of experiencing any heart – or blood-pressure -related problems in the future.
It’s a sport that can be done alone, but you can always bring your family along too for some bonding time – this can help reduce the likelihood of depression and anxiety. Plus, if you can partake in this while the sun is shining, something you may regularly miss out on from being stuck in your office, you will release serotonin – otherwise known as the happy chemical.
Work out your entire body by swimming
This may be quite a challenging sport, due to the buoyancy of the water causing lots of physical exertion, but it is excellent for mental well-being. Toning muscles and building strength and endurance are some of the many benefits, and it works out your whole body rather than only one area.
The strokes taken as you swim involve rhythmic breathing that can trigger the area of your nervous system that is responsible for relaxation and rest, and therefore is beneficial for stress relief.
And if you aren’t too skilled yet, there are various swimming strokes you can take to discover which is most comfortable for you. Some high-impact exercises can be difficult for people with conditions such as arthritis or any general injuries, but swimming isn’t one of them.
So if you feel limited to the exercises that you can do but are eager to relieve some stress, swimming is undoubtedly your best bet.
Of course, there are many sports that can benefit you both physically and mentally. But perhaps one of these can act as a stress reliever outside of your working days and even become a hobby. Which of these sports are you eager to take part in?