Corporate life is notoriously stressful, with deadlines and responsibility at every turn. High levels of workplace stress not only cause harm to sufferers but also harm the business in terms of falling productivity and lost work hours. Engaging in sports has been shown by academic studies and anecdotal evidence alike to reduce stress and boost feelings of mental and physical wellbeing. What are the specific benefits that sport can deliver for a corporate relaxation programme?
Any form of physical activity, from team-based sports such as football or rugby to solitary pursuits such as running or practising with a netball drill video, stimulates the release of chemicals called endorphins in the brain. These chemicals serve the biological purpose of acting as painkillers and stress reducers to help you sustain exercise for longer; in addition, they are responsible for the so-called ‘runner’s high’. Exercise and the neurological response allow the body to practise and improve its ability to deal with stress responses in other situations, such as the boardroom.
Exercise and mental health
The boosted fighting ability against physical and mental stress that exercise provides can also help to alleviate mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. These disorders are often – although not always – triggered or worsened by high levels of stress. Numerous studies show that exercise and sport can help to relieve the symptoms of anxiety and depression, meaning less days off sick and higher productivity at work.
Social contact is another excellent stress buster. Social bonding activities promote the release of oxytocin, which produces a sense of relaxation. Combining socialising with a sport makes you more likely to stick at it and stay motivated; in addition, communication between employees will be vastly improved if they play sports together. You could even get your staff some Nike Football Kits like the ones you can find at www.kitking.co.uk/brand/nike and set up an office football league.
Sports can be a casual way of keeping fit; however, many people also focus on achievements. Whether it is winning a tournament with your team or running a marathon, working towards and achieving goals through physical exertion leads to increased feelings of self-efficacy, self-worth and self-esteem. This sense that you can do things that you set out to achieve helps you to overcome stress.