Playing sports as a child has long been linked to improving their social skills, work ethics and respect for authority, but a new study published in Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging shows that participation in the team sports In particular, can actually serve an important mental health function: protection against depression.
Researchers scanned the brains of 4000 children between the ages of 9 and 11 and examined the children for their participation in sports and their depressive symptoms. They found that all children who were active in team sports had a larger hippocampus – a region of the brain that plays an important role in memory, learning and responding to stress. Hippocampal shrinkage has long been associated with depression and researchers found that the boys who participated in an organized sport not only had larger hippocampal volumes but also showed fewer depressive symptoms than the other children.
Among the girls were the sports team's players had larger hippocampuses also but no association with fewer depressive symptoms. Nevertheless, the importance of team sports was clear: The researchers found the correlation between sports, brain activity and mental health was greater in students who participated in organized sports as opposed to a free play on pick-up basketball or participation in art or music.
"The fact that these relationships were strongest for teams or structured sports suggests that there may be something about the combination of exercise and social support or the structure that comes from being on a team that may be useful in preventing or treating depression in adolescents, says lead author Lisa Gorham in a press release. "The findings give rise to interesting opportunities for new work to prevent and treat depression in children."
This research focused on children, but many previous studies have shown that it really There is a link between mental health and law practice in adults. A study from 201
In the current study, the researchers noted that their results could not show causal link between sport activity, hippocampal size, and depression, but it was definitely a compound between the three.
Whether you are 12 or 52, it is clear that there is an essential link between mental health and exercise in a society. So, in addition to high school, consider finding a group class or (even better) joining a community softball league or an intramural flag football team instead. Your body and your brain will thank you.