10 Benefits of Sports for Physical and Mental Health

The Benefits of sport For the physical and mental health of children, adolescents, adults and seniors have been extensively researched and scientifically tested.

If we stop to think about the evolution that has taken place in society, it is shocking to see how the fall in the birth rate has made the boom of childcare open a few years ago, has been replaced by the boom of the opening of Gyms

Benefits of sport

The current population has a higher average life expectancy and the number of older people who perform physical exercise by medical recommendation is increasing.

For their part, young people, very exposed to the image given by the media regarding the physical aspect and at the same time driven by the need to free themselves from the stress of their daily life, are encouraged to practice sports and go to gyms .

Practicing physical exercise achieves very healthy health benefits. However, we must rely on responsible use of it.

Physical activity has been a decisive element in the process of adapting the organism to the environment, and its presence in people's lives has been modified over time. In ancient times humans to survive had to walk for miles or kilometers to get food, so organisms have been perfected and our physiological systems only reach an optimal level of functioning when we perform a regular physical activity.

However, in later times, with the development of agriculture the role of sedentarism gained strength and in addition physical exercise was considered exclusive patrimony of the upper social classes and healthy young people, while their practice was prohibited to people Of low social classes and those with some type of disability. As time has passed, and within the service sector, the western man is forced to have a sedentary work activity.

Nowadays, and as I said before, the importance that is given in today's society to greater health care, body and even body aesthetics, has transmitted the idea of ​​the importance of practicing physical exercise, incorporating more and more people To this activity. There is research in the United States where it is estimated that about 45% of adults practice physical activity during their leisure time.

10 Benefits of practicing sports for health


There have been many researches on the beneficial effects of exercise, and data indicate that moderate regular practice is a key element in the prevention of the most frequent chronic diseases and in the reduction of mortality attributable to any cause .

There is research that supports the prescription of physical exercise as useful to prevent premature mortality from any cause. The greater the volume or intensity of physical exercise the better.

To obtain the benefits of prevention it has been shown that it is necessary to perform Moderate aerobic exercise For a minimum of 30 minutes, 5 days a week, or intense exercise for a minimum of 20 minutes, 3 days a week. It is recommended to add a minimum of 2 consecutive days each week to practice 8-10 exercises that develop the strength of most muscle groups (arms, shoulders, thorax, abdomen, back, hips and legs) with 10-15 repetitions Of each year. As well as 2 10-minute sessions a week to perform 8-10 exercises that maintain the flexibility of most muscle groups and tendons.

As for the effect of physical exercise on the cardiovascular system, cancer, depression, anxiety, weight control and other benefits, several studies have been carried out and conclusions such as those we will see below.

1-Benefits in the cardiovascular system

Swimming man

As for the cardiovascular system, it was in 1978, in a study conducted by Paffenbarger, Wing and Hyde, to the students of Harvard University, when it was found that the group of students classified in the low activity group (expenditure of less than 2000 kcal per week) had a 64% increased risk of having a heart attack compared to the high activity group.

This is because the new diseases are partly due to the lack of adaptation to the loss of physical activity that has occurred throughout history, in organisms that have evolved. Another important finding that was concluded as a result of this research was the reduction of risk of heart attack through physical activity in subjects who smoked or showed a picture of hypertension.

On the other hand, it has been observed that the reduction in mortality due to cardiovascular diseases is associated more with recent physical activity than with past physical activity.

When recent or past activity levels of subjects were considered, those who were most active at the present time had a significantly lower mortality rate in both men and women than those who had already dropped out physical activity.

In addition, there were no differences in mortality in the group of more and less active people. Thus, it is concluded that the beneficial effects of physical activity do not last in the long term, but are conditioned by the practice of physical exercise.

These results are confirmed in relation to the blood pressure of hypertensive patients, which is reduced if the person performs physical exercise and nevertheless, returns to levels similar to the previous ones when this activity is abandoned. And in relation to those who have suffered a myocardial infarction , They recover more quickly the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system (in charge of the involuntary functions of the organism) and the capacity of effort, if they realize activity.

Previously I mentioned the role of physical exercise in the prevention of some diseases, in this case for the Stroke (LCA). It has been shown to influence weight, blood pressure, cholesterol (increased good or HDL cholesterol, and lowering bad cholesterol or LDL) and glucose tolerance, all of which are dependent on the incidence of stroke. But beware, physical exercise alone would not compensate for an inadequate diet, only corrects it.

2-Benefits to prevent cancer

Women practicing canoe

It is important to take into account the results of studies that have shown the likelihood of suffering some types of cancer through physical exercise.

As for the colon cancer , Vena, Graham, Zielezny, Swanson, Barnes and Nolan in 1985, saw their incidence increase as occupational physical activity declined. In addition, it appears that in women physical activity has a preventive effect on colon cancer more pronounced than in men.

Regarding prostate cancer, it was found that its development decreased in those men who exercised a greater amount of physical activity, through the production of insulin and testosterone.

Likewise, it has been observed that the risk of death by Lung cancer Is lower in active than sedentary people. Wannamethee, Shaper and Mcfarlane in 1993 found that only those subjects who engaged in moderate-intensity activities such as walking or climbing stairs showed a significant reduction in risk compared with those who performed even lighter activity.

Finally, with regard to the Breast cancer , Although the results of the studies are not very conclusive, the most recent ones seem to confirm in a systemic way the protective role of exercise in the prevention of breast cancer.

3-Benefits for emotional well-being


Let's talk now about the emotional malaise, surely you will have happened on some occasion that you have been overwhelmed by studies, work, for the care of children, and to clear you have decided Run out to run , Or you have gone to the gym, to dance classes, to swimming... And then you have felt much better.

Because this is due to the fact that when doing sports you release in your body a series of hormones such as:

  • The Serotonin , Which influences our State of mind , Causing a feeling of calm, Allowing better sleep And regulating food intake.
  • The Dopamine , Which is linked to the sensation plancentera after exercise, helping to cause a dependency.
  • In turn, endogenous chemicals are released, Endorphins , Which allow us to feel happiness, joy and even euphoria, functioning as a natural painkiller. In addition, the increase of the body temperature and the reduction of the muscular activity after the practice also influence.

4-Benefits to reduce anxiety

Man climbing mountain

With respect to anxiety , Studies with volunteer subjects have consistently shown that regular physical exercise has a sedative effect and decreases tension and anxiety. And eye, because it has even been more effective than some tranquillizers.

It is paradoxical that at the beginning of the exercise there is an increase in tension, however this level stabilizes soon and from 5 to 30 minutes after exercise, the state of relaxation is total. This state of relaxation lasts approximately 4 hours and then returns to the previous levels of activation within 24 hours after its completion.

To optimize the calming effect, exercise should be moderately intense but never strenuous. As a curiosity, it has been seen that the Water exercise Especially in hot water, increases physiological indices and psychological states of relaxation.

Tips to consider:

  • If you suffer from chronic anxiety -> practice daily physical exercise.
  • If you find yourself anxious during the day -> do exercises first thing in the morning.
  • If you suffer insomnia -> do exercises in the afternoon. Since sleep makes it difficult at night.
  • If you are sensitive to anxiety and this is present as a cause of panic disorder and other anxiety disorders -> practice aerobic exercise, this will expose you to physiological symptoms and show a significant reduction in your fear of anxiety.

5-Benefits for stress

hockey grass

As for the stress , It has been proven that there are results both cognitive and physical. From this it can be affirmed that the people that make a physical activation will benefit to a greater extent of the physical exercise, and those where the cognitive activity is greater (ruminations, Intrusive thoughts ) Will benefit more from other forms of relaxation.

In addition, with exercise daily stressful experiences are cushioned and diminished.

6-Benefits to prevent depression

Man practicing windsurfing

Refering to depression Investigations have been carried out. Specifically, Hassmen, Koivula, and Uutela in 2000 conducted a survey and found that people who exercised two or three times a week experienced fewer symptoms of depression than sedentary people, as well as fewer symptoms of stress, anger, and Stronger feeling of social integration.

In turn, physical exercise influences all types of depression, both the most severe and the mildest. And both aerobic and anaerobic exercise, as we saw earlier, were just as effective in treating depression.

In short, what variables are behind this relationship between physical exercise and the best in the mood?.

  • Sensation and ability to control one's own body and self-sufficiency.
  • A more relaxed state of consciousness.
  • How to regulate the autonomic state.
  • Distraction and fun form that frees the person from unpleasant emotions and thoughts.
  • Exposure to physical symptoms associated with anxiety and stress and understanding of the absence of unpleasant consequences. Example: sweating, fatigue, hyperventilation.
  • Form of social reinforcement.
  • Way to cushion and decrease the tension caused by stressful life events.

7-Benefits to lose weight

Ski walking

However, despite all the aspects that I have been dealing with throughout this article related to the benefit of physical exercise, we are all familiar with the main idea of ​​"doing sport to lose weight". Indeed, the Weight control Is another aspect on which physical exercise provides important benefits.

The relationship between these two variables is not as simple as it seems to be, how many times have you become discouraged because despite all the times you go to the gym, the scale of the pharmacy is still the same?

One of the aspects related to this is that the human body needs to consume very few calories to develop any physical workload. For example:"If you walk for 24 hours straight and drink only water, at the end of the day you will have lost a kilo approximately and during the following hours you will recover easily."

That is why it is very frustrating to undergo expensive physical activity rituals to try to lose weight, if that is the only strategy used for that purpose. In order for this to work it would be necessary for the person to dedicate an intensive aerobic practice of at least one hour, for five or more times a week.

However, despite these data, physical exercise is critical to preventing weight gain. At the same time, follow a Hypocaloric diet Without accompanying physical exercise does not offer results even though the data indicate that physical exercise per se is not enough to lose weight, is essential to prevent its gain.

Here is an illustrative table showing the calorie cost for every 10 minutes of Brownell's physical activity in 1980.

Calories 1

It is important to mention the role played by the Metabolism of the organism , Since before low calorie diets it will slow down so that it burns less calories than before to perform any activity (even sleep). On the other hand, regular exercise can speed up metabolism and return it to its normal level.

And... what about the setpoint? The setpoint is the body weight to which our body tends to regulate itself so as not to deviate much from it. Physical exercise allows it to be placed a few points lower, so that the resistance of the body when you start a diet program will be less, and from this any subsequent weight reduction imply an even greater dietary restriction.

8-Benefits to control the appetite


As for the appetite, the physical exercise moderates it, Controlling in turn the emotional states of anxiety And depression that are the ones that lead us to pull the chocolate from the pantry, or to buy us the ice cream pot to calm us down.

I find it curious to note that in a study by TudorLocke, Basett, Rutherford, Ainsworth, Chan, Croteau et al. In 2008, it was concluded that people who walk an average of 12,000 total steps a day (one hour walking at a good pace a day), are exempt from overweight problems.

However, it was seen that the number of steps depended on the age and sex of the subjects. Women over 60 needed no more than 8,000, those between 40-50 years would need 10,000 and men over 50, 11,000.

9-Benefits to maintain bone mass

Woman practicing golf

To conclude this article, I will mention other aspects that have been seen in relation to physical exercise. On the one hand the maintenance of bone mass, in addition in women moderate exercise is shown as a fundamental element in the prevention of this disease.

On the other hand, in diabetics, it was observed that regardless of the physical activity that was performed, the higher the energy consumption, the greater the risk of developing Type II diabetes . For example, only walking at a good pace, there was a reduction of the risk of this disease.

10-Benefits for the sexual life

Running sunset

And in relation to sex life? A study by White, Case, McWhirter, and Mattison found that after intervening in a group of subjects undergoing an aerobic physical exercise program, there were improvements in sexuality, in terms of frequency of relationships with their Habitual pairs, improvement of the quality of the same and percentage of satisfactory orgasms.

Finally, and as a matter of interest, the close association between the maintenance of cognitive function, particularly men over 60 years of age who exercise daily lightly, have higher scores on cognitive assessment tests and on the test Mini mental However, this relationship was less narrow in the case of women.


As you have seen throughout this article, going to the gym, to Dance classes , Spinning Or cycling to work hides many benefits related to that practice. You may not have been aware of what physical exercise is. Now that you know, surely your motivation is greater, so from here I encourage you to try.


  1. Guillén García, F., Castro Sánchez, JJ., Guillén García, M.A. (1997). Quality of life, health and physical exercise: an approach to the subject from a psychosocial perspective. Revista de psicología del deporte, vol. 6, no. 2.
  2. Cordero, A., Masiá, M.D. And Galve, E. (2014). Physical exercise and health. Revista Española de Cardiología, vol. 67, no. 9.
  3. Rodríguez-Pardo del Castillo, J.M. (2014). Physical exercise and longevity.
  4. Amigo Vázquez, I., Fernández Rodríguez, C. and Pérez Álvarez, M. (2009). Psychological manual of health (3rd edition). Editions pyramid. Cover theme, no. 35.

Loading ..

Recent Posts

Loading ..