by Devin Shepard, MSW, LSW
About two months ago, I moved to Glenview to be closer to my new work community, Inspire Counseling Center. I am extremely grateful to be part of this awesome team and community of clients and families– I hope to be part of it for many years to come!
There was so much I was excited about– one major thing was that my new complex has an outdoor pool! Every day, I look out the window and dream about starting my mornings with some solid exercise swimming laps once it gets warmer. But, while the weather is warming up, I am starting to brace myself that the pool may not open this month or this summer, as shelter-in-place continues.
As a Social Worker and life-long athlete –I know the harsh impact of suddenly losing the opportunity to play your sport
I know at a very personal level how important sports are for your brain, mind, mood, health, and overall well being. I also know the devastating impact of suddenly losing the opportunity to play sports–and the hard impact it can have– I call it a “sports withdrawal.”
Exercise and sports have been a major outlet for me throughout my whole life. Soccer, basketball, swimming, football, baseball, tennis, cross-country, track and field, karate, gymnastics–you name it–I played it. This continued into High School with Varsity football, basketball and track and field.
In college, I played Varsity football. Little did I know, my football career would be cut short due to injuries. Just like “Shelter-in-Place,” I didn’t see it coming. Just like “Shelter-in-Place,” one day everything was normal–the next day my world changed. I could no longer play my game, exercise and be part of the team that I loved.
It is no secret that sports, exercise, and anything that get us moving & grooving (for all you dancers out there), are extremely influential to our overall health. We also know exercise plays a significant role with your brain health–especially with stress.
Princeton University conducted a study that found “exercise reorganizes the brain to be more resilient to stress.” (Schoenfeld, Rada, Pieruzzini, Hsueh, & Gould, 2013). This is just one study of many that continues to point to the importance of staying active.