People who play sports, especially at a competitive level, often describe the high levels of intensity as “invincible.” Research has shown that athletic training can actually change your brain and give you superhuman abilities. So if you’ve ever wanted to unleash your inner-athlete like huniepop all pics, then here are 8 ways sports can make you invincible:
1. Reduces Stress
In a study published in The Journal of Neuroscience , researchers found that people exposed to an acute stressor had increased levels of a hormone called cortisol which leads to an increase in heart rate and blood pressure. However, high-level athletes that have been training for at least 2-3 years showed significantly less cortisol levels and heart rate compared to people who had not been exercising at all. What’s more is that the more sidelined athletes were able to perform tasks like balance beam tests and testing brain waves more accurately than the ones who were regular exercisers. According to lead author Dr. Takahiko Kubo, the researchers think these athletes have a “superhuman” ability to cope with stress.
2. Protects Against Memory Loss
A previous study done in 2018 showed that physical activity and exercise can help maintain memory skills as you age. The study found that aerobic exercise such as jogging or cycling can help prevent an increase in brain cell death associated with Alzheimer’s disease. By training your body to endure long bouts of physical strain, it also helps your brain chemically respond better to the bouts of strain when training or during an intense game. Even after the period of intense practice has ended, your brain will have a better response to similar situations.
3. The “Superior-Athlete” Hormone
A study published in PLOS One found that when a person is exercising, their heart rate increases in tandem with their levels of the hormone, irisin. Irisin actually helps the brain release hormones called neurotrophins which aid in the regeneration of existing neurons and also the growth of new ones. Endurance athletes have been shown to have a higher concentration of corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) in their spines. This hormone acts as a mediator for the stress response and is also linked to anxiety and depression. By understanding how the body responds to stressful situations, you’re better able to handle stressful situations outside of sport.
4. Helps You Deal With Routine Problems
To deal with stressful situations, stress-coping mechanisms are activated that help you handle a problem. Research has found that athletes who were trained for at least 6 months showed decreased levels of emotional distress and psychological problems with sleeping, depression, interiorized anger, and more when compared with those who were not trained at all. What’s more, the athletes showed better performance in general mood-regulation.
5. Mental Toughness
Psychologist Stephen Robbins once said that “psychological skills can be developed through practice and training and that these skills are transferable from one situation to another.” This means that if you train yourself to be confident and relaxed on the field of play, then you’ll have a similar response when faced with a difficult situation off the field. Sports allow us to sharpen our mental skills by practicing them over and over inside games, which enables us to utilize those same skills outside of sports too.
6. Improved Agility
Researchers have found that children and teenagers who play sports like baseball and soccer will have better balance, reduced risk of injury, and increased agility than their non-athlete counterparts. People who participate in sports have been shown to have improved agility, balance, and coordination as a result of training. This is why you see basketball players having their ball handling skills tested during the NBA draft and why baseball players are high-profile quarterbacks.
7. Stress-Busting Yoga
Yoga is great for improving mood and relaxation in general. What’s more is that sports-specific yoga has also been shown to provide some healing effects for athletes. Researchers at Aston University found that high level sports athletes are more likely to engage in yoga than non-athletes. This is because a regular practice of yoga helps boost your mood and relax you throughout the day. Perhaps this could be attributed to what Dr. Robbins said about psychological skills being transferable from one situation to another?
8. Sporting Success
Most sports are not won by the strongest, fastest, or most athletic players. Most of them are won by those who can quickly process a wide range of information at once and be able to react to it. This is why we see athletes with lower physical capabilities becoming some of the top coaches in their sports. It’s because they know how to train their players properly and how to improve their ability to react under pressure. This goes back to Dr. Robbins’ point that mental skills can be transferred from one situation to another.
Taking up a new sport is a tough challenge, but it’s also a good way to challenge your own limits. And challenging yourself is the first step in becoming invincible. There are many different techniques you can use to train yourself to be more fearless, including meditation and exposure therapy , but there is no better way to get started than by signing up for a sport and starting your training today.