18th December: Sport

18th December: Sport

18 DECEMBER 2015

SPORT

Today, I am very thankful for sport. Not to be confused with what I experienced at school, which generally classifies as physical and mental torture. The benefits of exercise on the brain were highlighted on Day 16. Competitive sport whether watching or participating, provides additional social opportunities, a feeling of belonging and being in the ‘in group’.

Like a pack of wolves or dogs, the human brain is wired for status. Not necessarily meaning the corner office kind, more the perception of where one fits in the pack. If there is uncertainty about position in the group, a threat state in the brain can ensue. Therefore, being affiliated to a particular sport or team can enhance status and help to offset lower perceived standing elsewhere in life.

Professional and elite athletes are members of an exclusive group that also serve to inspire, motivate and challenge our beliefs of what it is personally feasible to accomplish. A classic example of this is the four minute mile. It was deemed physically impossible for any human to run a mile in under four minutes and it wasn’t until Sir Roger Bannister achieved this in 1954, that suddenly many others overcame the obstacle and quickly went on to break this record. Thank you, sport.