Mental Health and Obesity

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The obesity rate in America is at an all-time high, and it seems there is no end in sight. Obesity not only affects adults, but children as well. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines obesity as “Weight that is higher than what is considered as a healthy weight for a given height.” (CDC, 2016) Soccer not only improves physical health and lessens obesity, but also mental health. Working out at least once a day makes a person feel very accomplished and productive, leading to less stress and happier thoughts.

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Staying active is very important and beneficial to a person’s life.To help combat the obesity epidemic, children can play soccer to stay healthy and improve their physique.

Obesity in America is an epidemic that does not look like it is going to stop any time soon. The obesity rate amongst adults in the year 2017 in the United States is 39.8% which is 93.3 million people(CDC,2017) and is rapidly growing. Lowering the obesity rate is important to our country’s and citizens wellbeing. Combating obesity should be a priority on the agenda. One main way to combat this epidemic is creating more opportunities for children or young children to get active and stay fit. Creating opportunities for children and teenagers to exercise and perfect a craft is a good way to help obtain a healthy body and lifestyle. Playing sports has many other benefits besides the physical aspect of it. Brain function, personality, and the inner body are positively affected with exercise and playing a sport like soccer.

The game of soccer has been around for centuries and is played around the world. Soccer is a very physically demanding sport, as a player must be able to run at high speeds for short periods of time in random bursts. However, soccer is not only a physical sport but a mental game as well. Players must be quick thinking and always alert in stressful situations. On average, a soccer player will run up to 7 miles per game (Daily news, 2018). This can be extremely taxing on a player’s body. Unlike other sports, soccer is played on a field which is 110-120 yards long and 70-80 yards wide, an enormous amount of space to cover within a 90-minute period. Soccer players have to be at top health and capable of sharp thinking to be the best they can. A soccer player’s ability is not only affected by their physical abilities, but also by their mental health. Soccer clubs regularly have therapists come in and meet with players after tough losses or when players sustains a serious injury(BPL,2018). This shows the importance mental health has on a soccer player’s performance. Having a positive attitude and happy thoughts is very important for a player to be at his best. Legendary soccer player Ronaldinho once said, “I learned about life with a ball at my feet.”. Soccer is not only a sport but a way of life to many, playing sports not only affects your physical body but also with life lessons.

Playing sports is beneficial for high school students because when players have practice for the sport, it provides a little break to forget what is going on around them and them the opportunity to have some personal time to practice their skills. Staying fit not only affects a person’s physical well being,but also other aspects of the person’s life. It was found that with regular exercise, people sleep better, are more productive, and are mentally sharp(huffington Post). Furthermore, doing soccer drills not only improves a player’s soccer skills, but also their level of fitness and builds stamina, so that during games, a player is able to run more and perform the skills they have been practicing. Soccer drills can be very complex and make a player think fast on their feet. For example, long ball drills involve the player sending the soccer ball across the field, which requires focus and patience. Improving your skill can open many different avenues for young athletes, weather it is playing in college after high school or even trying to play professionally. The most important thing in sports is practice and putting in work in the gym so that a player can reach maximum performance, the more time and effort someone put into something the better that person get at it.

Physical activity has been shown to stimulate chemicals in the brain that cause happiness (health direct,2017). There is a direct correlation between exercising and good mental health, that is why sports in high school are so important. High school students’ stress levels are at a all time high right now, and soccer creates opportunities for students to relieve their stress levels in a good environment.The Newport Academy published a report that teens that participate in school sports grade 8-12 have less stress and better mental health as young adults (Newport Academy, 2018). Science proves that being physically active improves brain function and stress level. Many studies show that exercising can help deal with depression and anxiety, such as meditation or a bike ride down a mountain. Using exercise or playing a sport is a valid avenue for treatment to many different types of mental health issues.

Obesity and mental health are somewhat related, people who are not in good shape tend to have insecurities and a negative self image . Exercising and living a healthy lifestyle leads to better mental health.Mental health is a serious issue and should not be handled lightly, therefore creating opportunities to combat this is very important. Playing sports relieves stress and helps improves a person’s mental condition. In the brain, exercise stimulates chemicals that improve a person’s mood and the parts of the brain responsible for memory and learning. The more a person exercises, the more benefits come with it. Exercising helps reduce the risks of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, among other diseases. Exercising also helps with recovery from mental illnesses. When going through mental illness people resort to many different outlets to help with recovery, one of which is through exercising. When exercising, blood is pumped through the brain which helps with the clearing of the mind and makes you think properly. Soccer not only improves mental health, it also improves brain function and health. Soccer combats decline in brain function with age and improves memory and brain abilities (Health Direct, 2017). Sports are a gateway into battling mental health and the obesity rate in the US, which is why participating in sports during high school and college is very beneficial and important.

Playing team sports, such as a high school soccer team or soccer club, also benefits the players in the classroom as well. Exercising helps relieve stress and improve brain functionality which would help the players focus more in school (Health Direct, 2017). During finals week students go through a lot of stress dealing with multiple exams and studying many hours for them, practicing and exercising could help students relieve the stress of exams. Seven out of ten adults experience stress or anxiety on a daily basis, according to the ADDA survey on stress (ADAA, 2017). Playing sports and exercising can help deal with anxiety and stress levels by giving an opportunity for the player to sweat things out and focus on another task to help cope with what is going on in their daily lives. High school teams have rules on maintaining a certain GPA to stay on the team and play, which ultimately motivates the players to better in school and keep their GPA above that average.

Soccer is a aerobic sport which requires a lot of sprinting and fast breathing, soccer is one of the only sports that requires an extensive amount of running. The average soccer player runs 7 miles in a game, which is one of the highest from other sports. Running is a cardiovascular exercise (cardio), a cardiovascular exercise is when the athlete’s heart rate increases while exercising. When a person does cardiovascular exercise regularly, it decreases their blood pressure and their resting heart rate. This means the heart does not have to work as hard all of the time. Cardio increases blood flow and decreases chance of stroke, also improves memory and thinking ability (Cleveland Clinic, 2016). Playing soccer improves overall body function and mental ability, however soccer also increases muscle,brain function, clears skin, and improves blood sugar control. People that have diabetes are told to exercise regularly because sports have been proven to help with blood sugar levels and also the control of diabetes (Leontis and Hess-Fischl, 2018). Sports medicine is gaining popularity as a viable treatment option as supposed to traditional medicine such as diabetes pills, blood pressure pills, joint pains, etc. Soccer and sports in general can help with common diseases such as diabetes or blood pressure issues. Exercising is a basic but very impactful way of dealing with blood pressure and sugar levels.

Sports are not only good for the body, but the personality as well. Many different studies have been done on this topic and show that sports teach important life skills as well. Organized sports can shape a teenagers life for the better due to the discipline and respect involved. Organized sports teach teenagers to respect elders and others around them at a young age, and teaches them how to deal with many different types of people(sport and personality development, 2015). Sometimes in sports, players do things to try to get a psychological edge on their opponents by trash talking, hard tackles, and taunting. Sports help deal with people like that at a young by teaching more viable options when dealing with people like that in the real world. Being able to keep one’s cool during the heat of competition is not an easy task, however dealing with it at a young age better prepare the player for the future ahead . More importantly, it teaches a person how to lose gracefully. Keeping one’s cool during a loss is a hard thing to do and sports provides that opportunity to learn. Not everyone knows how to deal with losing or failure,in general, but going through it at a young age better prepares someone to deal with is in the future. Furthermore, when on a sports team, players have to talk to a lot of different types of people and deal with many different personalities, which improves social skills. Playing on a team creates bonds and new friendships with people which expands a person’s social outlook. Organized sports also teaches leadership abilities, playing on a sports team teaches you how to handle conflicts between teammates and showing up on time and prepared for training. Sports also boost a players self-esteem, when a player achieves a sport or fitness goal they set out for themselves gives the player confidence and motivates the player to achieve other goals they might have in their life(MU health care,2017).

Sports are beneficial not only to the players mental health and physical health, but also the community around that player. Sports unify people and bring different types of personalities under one team with all the same goal and that is to win games. When being on a team, a player is surrounded by almost a family, a group of guys or girls all sharing the same goal, “After all, your team is who you’ll eat, sleep, suffer and succeed with, and they’re part of your support system” (Maldonado,2014). On a sports team a players teammates are there to support and be there for their teammates, especially on high schools teams where sports are very family orientated. Being on a team is like having another family to go to and talk to, a players teammates become his second family which helps improve with loneliness and combat the feeling of being left out of things. When on a team everyone is fighting for a common goal which teaches you teamwork and how to effectively communicate and deal with problems as a unit(MU health,2017).

Practicing sports helps with improving a player’s skill and gaining knowledge about the sport of choice. Being good at a sport comes with commitment and hard work, The average professional soccer player practices 5 days a week (Quora,2017). Being good at anything comes with practice, soccer is a very hard sport to be good at however it is very possible with hard work. Soccer has many components to it such as finishing, heading, slide tackles, dribbling, and passing. There are thousands of soccer drills that can help improve any aspect of a player’s game. A player can set up cones and dribble through them with a ball to improve close dribbling, or a player can do outside the box shooting and practice finishing and shooting. Soccer is a very mentally demanding sport; it takes quick thinking and peak physical performance to make a good soccer player. Malcolm Gladwell once said “the key to success in any field was a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of 10,000 hours”(Deckers, 2012). No one can just be born with skills and good physical shape, everyone has to put in effort to reach that level.

Finding ways to combat both obesity and mental health issues should be of priority for high schools and colleges in this country. Sports benefit with both obesity and mental health as previously mentioned. Being on a team gives a player this feeling of security that they can rely on their teammates and coaches to help them with their problems. Being on a sports team gives the player an opportunity to relieve stress and talk with teammates about their daily lives. Soccer creates more opportunities for young teens to exercise while still improving their character in a good friendly environment.

Islam emphasizes the importance of taking care of your body and health. The beloved prophet said” O god, make the early hours blessed for my nation”, the prophet preached starting your day early and being energetic with your days. Islam teaches us that taking care of your mental health and body is a key to a good healthy life. The prophet and his companions were naturally physically fit, because people back then had to farm and had to hunt for food themselves and travel on foot for long amounts of time. The quran also emphasizes the importance of healthy eating, in the quran it talks about honey being liquid gold and that it has so many benefits for our bodies, “And thy Lord taught the bee to build its cells in hills, on trees and in people’s habitations… there issues from within their bodies a drink of varying colors, wherein is healing for humankind. Verily in this is a Sign for those who give thought.”(16:68). The prophet once wrestled a man and beat him showing that the prophet was physically fit and strong, showing the importance on taking care of your physique(Abu Dawood). As muslims we try to reenact everything the beloved prophet did, one thing the prophet did was exercise and contain a good diet, which emphasizes the importance of staying healthy and maintaining a healthy diet.  

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Mental Health and Obesity. (2021, Aug 04). Retrieved from