Sport and the effect on mental health when you stop
Sport doesn’t just have effects on the elite it has effects on amateur and semi-professional players here we look at sport in the community and the effects when you stop your sport.
When you look at the main age groups for men with depression, anxiety and suicidal tendencies it is from the ages 25-54 according to the Bureau of Statistics Australia.
During this time there are many changes that happen, marriage, divorce, job loss, job changes and lifestyle changes, also illness and death become a part of someone’s life, not necessarily to the person themselves but the people around them.
One area I would like to look at is the lifestyle area and in particular sport. I know growing up I played Aussie rules and cricket until my mid to late ’20s and then again in my 40’s. What these two sports have in common is playing sport with a group of guys that become mates, which in turn gives you an outlet to lose your self in, with simple regular activities that in turn give you focus, fitness and a sense of belonging.
My depression was diagnosed in my late 40’s when I finally finished playing any sport, this is where I believe things change for men.
Between your 30’s and 40’s a lot happens marriage, children, divorce, loss of close friend and family and the end of sporting careers. When I moved to Queensland and started playing a sport I noticed a big difference from Victoria. In Victoria after playing, we would hang around the club have a beer a chat and depending on the sport stay for dinner. In Queensland, it is competing and go.
This issue is even greater for elite athlete’s as they have been in the limelight, in most cases been paid well for what they do then have nothing when their career ends, these days sports people are now encouraged to pursue studies or find part-time or casual work. However, they still struggle adapting back to a normal way of life it is only a very very small group that continue in their chosen sport either as a coach or support staff or media.
So what does have to do with mental health you ask?
I now play darts a great game that allows you to participate in sport again, allows you to play a sport with injuries and a lack of fitness and is played indoors so it is rare that a match gets cancelled.
I represented the club for the first time and it was a match against another club, there we 16 a side and we played as teams of 4 we had a loss but how much fun was it playing a team sport again, having that feeling that your actions count towards something, the possibility of throwing a winning dart to get your team over the line, it was there, it was real again.
Driving home I thought to myself this has been the missing part for many years, the little thing that gets the spark happening again, the feeling of wanting to do this every week, compete and be around like-minded guys having a fun day.
Mentally this has been the best period for years and now enhanced representing the club. The best part and you should push yourself to do it again is to start again, just like wanting to start a podcast or youtube channel, you have to start!
Find a sport that you can play again that has a team element like dart’s, lawn bowls, ten pin bowling it will give you the sense of belonging again and get you committed to something that you have not done in a long time, yes there will be times that you don’t want to go, you will pull out that week, but that’s ok those times will get less.
You will in time open up to people and start talking about you and your health, believe me, there are a lot of people in a similar or worse situation and they will help you as well, to get over the hurdles and get your self-belief back.
This link is to a survey about you and your sport that you played. It will only take a few seconds to complete.
Thank you in advance