People play sports for all kinds of reasons, even to reach inner peace:
- to have fun, to socialize
- get, or stay, in shape
However, one benefit to sports you might not be aware of is their potential to improve your overall mental state. Some sports can actually help you in your quest to achieve inner peace. Now, you might be thinking of football, or hockey, and saying, “no chance!” Rough contact sports, and inner peace? Definitely don’t go together at all. Some sports are better than others when it comes to helping you clear your mind, as well as develop that Zen-like calm gets you through life’s trials, and tribulations.
Reach inner peace by participating in these 4 sports
Riding a bike is a great way to get around, as well as a good source of exercise. Whether indoors or outdoors, cycling is not only a way to stay in shape, but also a way to improve your mental state. For one thing, aerobic exercise decreases anxiety, and cycling is one of the best ways to aerobic exercise. Cycling is also very friendly to the body, sparing joints the impact with the ground.
Not an experienced cycler, but wish to start the sport, try a beginner spin bike routine. Rather than finding an outdoor path, or route, and dealing with car traffic, cycling on a stationary bike narrows the focus down to just you and the bike. It cuts out a lot of possible stress.
Have you ever heard of the idea of the “Runner’s High”? Many runners experience feelings of euphoria and a sense of invincibility at a certain point during their runs. Believe it or not, there’s a psychological and physiological basis behind the Runner’s High, and finding a physical activity that can give you feelings like those goes a long way toward achieving inner peace.
The same aerobic things cycling provides, also applies to running: it’s a sport for both indoors, as well as outdoors. All the benefits of aerobic activity apply to running, not just cycling. One can run indoors at a gym or fitness center, or outdoors on the street, or designated paths.
One cool thing about running is that technology is increasingly helping in tracking and analyzing your activities. Devices such as a Fitbit, or other step trackers, help monitor your routine, and provide other benefits as well.
Thinking about pop culture, what is the stereotype of a surfer? Mellow, calm, go-with-the-flow – There definitely seems to be a connection between the sport of surfing and a peaceful demeanor. Well, there’s some truth behind the stereotype, as surfing is definitely a sport that can aid in getting your mind in a good state.
One of the big reasons why surfing is great from a mental health standpoint is that you’re communing directly with nature. You’re out there in the ocean water, looking out at a big horizon and a sandy beach on the shore. The waves, produced by the tides, are what you ride in the course of surfing. Too often, modern life doesn’t create a strong connection with the natural world. Surfing can create that connection for you.
Surfing is a popular sport with a number of celebrities, notably Chris Hemsworth, Lady Gaga, Matthew McConaughey, and Emma Stone. Obviously, not everyone has access to an ocean with surf waves. However, if you’re lucky enough to live in an area that does, surfing might just be your ticket to inner peace.
Archery might not be the first sport you think of when trying to find inner peace. The sport of archery demands calmness and coolness, as being successful means shutting out all distractions and focusing perfectly on aiming and releasing the arrow at its target.
Surprisingly, archery is a form of meditation. Just like with meditation, an archer needs to block out worries and concerns of everyday life and concentrate solely on the task at hand. And then the feeling of satisfaction when hitting the target provides a nice boost to self-esteem in the process. All in all, archery carries a number of mental health benefits in addition to the physical exercise it provides.
If you’re looking to find more peace in your life, sports may not be the first place you’d be inclined to look. However, with one of these four sports, you may have a way at your disposal to improve your fitness. All four sports can channel the best mental version of yourself, as well as help you live a life with more peace, and contentedness.
Author bio: Mike Jones works as a freelance writer. He enjoys covering topics about health, fitness, and lifestyle. Mike graduated from Boston University with an MS degree in Mass Communication. He is grateful for having the opportunity to work from anywhere, given that traveling is his passion. For more of Mike’s work check his Twitter and Facebook accounts.