May 17, 2016
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Sport as an aid to improving mental health

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This week marks Mental Health Awareness Week and Dementia Awareness Week across the UK. As lovers of Sport, we wanted to look a little more closely at the area to share with our thoughts.

Our interest in this area was first spiked by the Sporting Memories Network, an organisation who work towards using the power of stories to reignite connections between generations and combat the effects of dementia, depression and loneliness. A major part of SMO’s ethos is sharing sporting memories, old and new, and so if what we do can have positive effects on people’s lives – we feel great about that!  The work they do with using sporting memories, is having an extremely positive effect on patients suffering with Dementia, and The FA are showing a keen interest in this area.

And what about the impact of Sport and mental wellbeing? Depression and anxiety are subjects often whispered behind closed doors, and only a few are able to speak out on their experiences. Perhaps this is why the effects of Sport on mental wellbeing isn’t a widely known as it could be?

The Royal College of Psychiatrists quote a useful drawing to show how depression can create a cycle of increasing the problem – a cycle that exercise and sport has the potential to break.


There are many health physicians out there, attempting to shift mental health patients to a ‘prescription of exercise’ as an alternative and effective therapy. So what are the benefits and should your friends or loved ones who are suffering give sport a try? Here’s why we think they should:

  • Improved memory and thinking – exercise releases endorphins which help with concentration and feeling overall more mentally sharp. It also simulates the growth of new brain cells helping to reverse the signs of mental ageing.
  • Improved sleep – Any amount of exercise is proven to help regulate sleep patterns which can have a positive impact on mental wellbeing
  • Mental strength – Exercise for many can act as an outlet for stress where often they might turn to drink, food or drugs. Regular exercise can also reduce the effects of stress and improve immunity making the body stronger physically and mentally. Regular habitual exercise increases self-esteem and can foster feelings of achievement
  • Improved energy level – The simple act of increasing your heart rate several times a week provides the body with energy. Why not start the day with gentle exercise and improve your levels through time?

There are many organisations across the City who are helping people to get back into Sport from Walking Football and Blokes United delivered by the East Riding FA’s Just Play programme, and access to a calendar of Sporting Activities from Active Humber, the regions County Sport Partnership.

Why not get involved and improve your lives?

To show our support for both Mental Health Awareness week and Dementia Awareness Week. We invite you to share your memories with us by posting on our Facebook page, or tag us on Twitter or Instagram. We will share and increase awareness of this important area. Use #SMO.

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