Research has shown the multiple benefits that can be derived from sport and movement. Athletic activity reduces stress, boosts mood, and also provides significant physical advantages. This month, let’s take a look at the interaction of sports and mental health, and how the Duchess of Cambridge encourages and partakes in sport.
The Duchess of Cambridge’s avid interest and enjoyment in sport can been seen in her choices of patronages, her royal engagements, and her background. As many know, she participated in multiple sports while at school and continues to do so recreationally, and these sports include tennis, field hockey, netball, sailing, skiing, and swimming. We have also seen Kate engage in different sports as part of her activities as a royal – she has played table tennis, field hockey, sailing and volleyball – and by all accounts, has proven to be very good at all of these! Kate has also demonstrated her interest in sport through her work as an ambassador for Team GB during the 2012 Summer Olympics and her presence at the Commonwealth Games in Scotland over the summer.
Kate champions British athletes and sportsmanship with her choices of two sports-related patronages. She has been the patron of SportsAid, a charitable organization that helps young and upcoming British athletes via cash awards that are used to defray costs associated with their sporting careers. Kate has attended several engagements as patron of SportsAid, and most excitedly will be present at the charity’s athletic workshop on Wednesday, November 12th. She, rather infamously, played volleyball one of the organization’s athletic workshops last year in her vertiginous wedges, so we’ll see what she gets up to this year!
The Duchess of Cambridge announced a new patronage last month, that of the 1851 Trust. This organization is aimed at exciting young people and connecting them to the sport of sailing and careers in the marine industry. Ben Ainslie Racing, a sailing team that striving to win the America’s Cup, supports the 1851 Trust and Ben Ainslie also acts as patron of the Trust. We saw Kate’s love of sailing during her races against Prince William while in Canada and New Zealand.
Sport has many benefits for physical and mental health. The physical advantages of exercise are well known. These include the fact that engaging in any of a variety of sport activities builds bone and muscle strength, which slows the loss of bone density and increases balance. Physical activity helps to control weight, reduces the risk of chronic diseases such as heart trouble, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes. Participation in sports can even reduce your risk of developing certain cancers and improves your sleep.
In addition to these physical gains, athletic activity has many psychological benefits as well. Sport reduces stress and decreases depression in that it allows the brain to produce increased endorphins (your body’s natural mood lifters). It increases energy levels, as well as improves your ability to concentrate and focus. Team sports are also beneficial in providing social support and social skills training, as they create a healthy competitive yet encouraging environment. Finally, participating in sports can increase your sense of mastery and thus improve self-esteem.
With many different options in terms of sports, it’s possible to find something that you love. Be it tennis, swimming, basketball, cricket, or sailing, sports encourage you to enjoy the outdoors and experience the amazing things your body can do. Additionally, sports can be enjoyed at any age and at any time. Make it fit into your schedule and make it fun!
Here’s wishing you a month of enjoyable sporting activities!