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#ESP2019 warm-up with Richard Bailey: "Healthy body - healthy mind?"

Copyrights: ENGSO

#ESP2019 warm-up with Richard Bailey: "Healthy body - healthy mind?"

Ahead of the 2019 European Sport Platform in Rome, ENGSO shares an interview with Richard Bailey on one of the three key topics to be covered at the Platform - mental health and sport.

Mental health issues are prevalent across Europe, touching individuals of all backgrounds. Physical activity and sport have been observed to have several possible effects on mental health. Lately, the discussion about the link between mental health and sport has intensified, that is why we will have a session on it at the second European Sport Platform on 5 October. Dr Richard Bailey, senior researcher at the International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education will give a keynote speech on the topic. As a warm-up to his session at the #ESP2019, we asked Richard a couple of questions on the topic.

Q: What is mental health?

A: Mental health can mean different things to different people, but generally speaking it refers to our ability to think and feel about how we need and want to live our lives. It also determines how we handle life’s stresses, relate to other people, and make choices about our lives. Since our mental health affects our moods, emotions and thoughts, it deserves serious attention; it directly affects the quality of our lives, our families and communities.

Q: What are the key facts around the mental health of Europeans today?

A: About a quarter of us are affected by mental health problems in any year, and while some of these problems can be quite mild and temporary, they can still make dealing with life’s challenges difficult or even painful. Some conditions range from common problems, such as depression, stress and anxiety, to rarer problems such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. One of the challenges facing doctors, therapists working with people with problems is that these problems can be caused by a very wide range of factors, from genetics and brain chemical to trauma, abuse and poor lifestyles. The good news is that we know more about mental health, its support and treatment are better than ever before, and help is available across Europe. The even better news is that many people with mental health problems do get better.

Q: How can participation in sport and physical activity have a positive effect on one's mental health?

A: Regular activity and sports participation are among the most valuable things we can all do to bolster our mental health. Research has found that people with stress, anxiety and mild to moderate depression can benefit enormously from regular physical activity. In fact, it seems that almost any form of physical activity is good for mental health – and, of course, physical health. But certain types of activities are more positively associated with mental health than others. Organised sport, and especially team sports, seem to be the most effective in improving measures of mental health, which should be good news for many ENGSO members and partners. Other physical activities, such as cycling, aerobic exercise, yoga and tai chi have been found to give strong mental health benefits as well. Social support seems to be particularly valuable, which raises the important issue of the role of sports clubs.

The #ESP2019 is organised by ENGSO, in partnership with the European Lotteries, and hosted by OPES Italia.


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Friday, August 30, 2019 - 09:59