• Question: what are the psychological effects of sport?

    Asked by unknownpupil to Jemma, John, Lisa, Sam on 28 May 2012.
    • Photo: Jemma Ransom

      Jemma Ransom answered on 28 May 2012:

      Hi again @unknownpupil!

      That’s an excellent question. If I may however, I think I’ll answer it from a slightly different potin of view. One area of sport I am particularly interested in is how it can be used to treat disease, here things get really interesting!

      For instance, some forms of exercise are as good at treating depression as an anti-depressive pill or drug. And if we look at sport in the elderly, group sports and exercise classes have a beneficial effect in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and depression.

      Both of these effects might be (and I put an emphasis on might as not everyone agrees) that this effect is on a region of the brain called the hippocampus. This is a part of the brain involved in learning and memory, one of the most remarkable things about it is it is one of the only areas of the brain that gives birth to new brain cells. Sport and exercise are believed to increase the number of brain cells born in the hippocampus which it is thought improves the outcome of the above diseases.

      Hope this answers your question