The pleasure of exercise and sports

Exercising means different activities and different levels of intensity. It is for everyone; the young and the elderly.

Even the simplest sport activity can be enjoyable as long as we turn it into a “flow” experience that attracts our interest, has goals, immediate results, attracts our attention, and our abilities are proportional to its difficulties.

Any activity is worthwhile for the enjoyment it offers and not for other purposes, such as health, fitness, and fashion.

Those who regularly play sports were found to be more optimistic, to have lower pressure and suffer less from anxiety and mood fluctuations. Also, they were more resistant to diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Frequent and regular aerobic exercises help to prevent and treat serious chronic somatic symptoms such as high blood pressure, obesity, heart diseases, diabetes, and insomnia.

The most beneficial effects on cardiovascular performance are caused by moderate exercise. Those who begin regular exercise after a myocardial infarction significantly improve the chances of survival, while the positive effects are significant to healthy individuals as well.

Epidemiological evidence shows that the moderate physical activity strengthens the immune system and reduces the risk of upper respiratory tract infections.

Studies in marathon runners found that prolonged, high-intensity exercises are associated with an increased risk of infections. The functions of the immune system cells decline after prolonged and intensive exercises, so athletes who are excessively stressed run a higher risk of contracting infections.

Exercise and sports increase the serotonin and endorphin levels in the brain which in turn render one cheerful, active, with increased self-esteem and the ability to effectively manage ones weight.

The positive effects of exercise are kept for several days afterwards and this is why it is considered an effective natural method of treating mild depression.

Exercise and sports are a very effective stress management technique. Physical activity releases the repressed energy affected by cortisol and the other hormones that are secreted into the blood stream when we are in stress. In the opposite case, the retention of these substances in the body makes one excitable, complicates sleep and causes a wide range of psychosomatic diseases.

Also, they reduce the accumulated rage which has been found to create phobic trends and panic, while they improve the quality of sleep and combat insomnia.

Physical exercise makes us feel satisfied with our Self, it boosts self-confidence, and it gives a sense of control over the body and the mind. The immune system becomes less susceptible to colds and flu and it generally decreases the fear of illness. It helps get the body fit so that we can wear the clothes we fancy, to feel safe, look good, and feel happy.

An aspect of sports is the social dimension of it. While many sports require one to be solitary, others require sociability. They bring people together, they offer social interaction, create pleasant feelings and help get rid of worries and disappointments.

The competitive desire to win a match in a sport that we love and enjoy gives us the opportunity to feel at ease and to feel good. During a game attention is detached from the feelings of anger, frustration or fear and focused on pleasure, performance and success.

A wide range of bodily activities are based on rhythmic and harmonic body movements. Among them dance is perhaps the oldest and the most important.

The most interesting flow activity is Yoga. It is a method comprising initially in the consolidation of the various parts of the body and then connecting the body to the consciousness to work in harmony as a whole.

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