Apr 20, 2020
Study: Team sports may boost mental fitness

Staying physically fit has long been linked to having better overall mental fitness. But researches from the University of Basel in Switzerland and the University of Tsukuba in Japan want to understand how the mental benefits of extended exercise can be optimized.

In a new study published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour, researchers have found after analyzing 80 studies that coordinated and challenging sports that require complex movement patterns and interaction with other players are the most beneficial for cognitive health.

mental fitnessWhat does that mean? Team sports like soccer, volleyball, basketball, rugby, football, field hockey have a greater influence on an athlete’s mental health. They also found that endurance training, strength training or a mix of the two also improves mental performance, but not as much.

“To coordinate during a sport seems to be even more important than the total volume of sporting activity,” Dr. Sebastian Ludyga from the University of Basel said in the study.

» ALSO SEE: Northwestern study finds athletes have healthier brains

While researchers found a link between competitive team sports and cognitive performance, a heightened level of physical activity doesn’t always correlate to a higher level of mental fitness, however. Additionally they found that long exercise sessions are only linked to a boost in cognitive performance when done over a sustained period of time.

To get access to the full study, titled “Systematic review and meta-analysis investigating moderators of long-term effects of exercise on cognition in healthy individuals, published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour, click here. 

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