There’s no doubt that playing sports can potentially benefit your health. Some of the benefits are more obvious, but you may be surprised to find out that you can benefit not just physically, but emotionally as well. Before starting any new sport or exercise regimen, though, consult your doctor to make sure it’s safe for you.
Most sports involve a certain level of physical activity; some more, some less, but all typically get your heart pumping faster at least part of the time. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends all adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week, or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity each week, to help stave off chronic diseases such as diabetes, arthritis and heart disease. Of course, it’s still important to check with your doctor before embarking on any new sport.
The most obvious benefit to playing sports is the benefit to your physical body, but sports can help your mind stay healthier too. In fact, researchers at the University of Edinburgh found that older people who participate in sports and exercise had significantly less brain shrinkage overall — a sign of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease — than those who didn’t do as much exercise.