Group Exercise Minimizes Impact of Trauma in Young AdultsSeptember 11, 2019
A recent study found people who experienced traumatic events as children had become mental health outcomes as adults if they participated in team sports during adolescence and young adulthoods. A lot of research has been conducted on how physical activity minimizes symptoms of depression, anxiety, and trauma, but less has been dedicated to the impact of group activities. Mental health in athletes has become a common topic, as many have struggled with the pressure to succeed but have also found their sport to be their most effective coping mechanism for the structure, social support, and sense of purpose. While team sports have similar health benefits as going to the gym, the social nature of these activities help young adults build emotional resilience and a sense of community.
Physical Activity Helps Improve Symptoms Of Trauma In Young Adults
Spending time outside in any capacity is good for boosting your mood and your immune system. Even just exposure to sunlight can make a huge difference. Skills learned in group exercises involve more than just your own abilities and extend to greater social awareness. While some group activities require working together, others are more competitive and involve always thinking ahead and watching your back. Group exercise involves just as much cognitive ability as it does physical ability.
Although individual adventure activities can build confidence, team sports create strong social networks. Whether you’re playing on a club team, in a competitive league, or with friends, time spent together in practice, traveling, and in games leaves a lot of time for bonding. Most of these relationships continue off the field. For people who struggle with social anxiety, joining a team is a great way to find friends with similar interests that are invested in cheering them on. The anxiety they experience during conversations is reduced when they are able to get out of their heads and into their bodies. The friends they make are also the people they can turn to if they’re having a hard day to provide advice, distractions, or simply company.
Most teens report that the greatest rewards of group activities for them is often not the activity itself, but the relationships that they’ve formed by participating. Group exercise and adventure activities involve collaboration, problem solving, and empathy. On a team, everyone’s individual strengths are recognized in their specific role and everyone works together toward shared goals. This helps them realize that everyone affects each other and that the key to helping themselves is to help the people around them. Team building teaches individuals valuable leadership skills.
According to the researchers, “there are a lot of life lessons that can be learned through playing team and group-based sports. You’ve got to train and work hard. You learn to win and, more importantly, to lose. This helps teens develop resilience.” Sports play a big role in many younger children’s lives, but as they are encouraged to explore other interests, most young adults stop participating in group exercise altogether. Young adults with trauma have a hard time enjoying the same activities that they used to, feeling confident, and being vulnerable around other people. The trust that they had in people is difficult to rebuild, as they struggle with reforming a support network and finding a sense of purpose and belonging. However, the lessons that they’ve learned about discipline, pride, teamwork and resilience can be applied to many other areas of their lives.
Trails Momentum Can Help
Trails Momentum is a wilderness therapy program for young adults, ages 18 to 25. Many of our students have been affected by trauma and have experienced depression, anxiety, and a loss of motivation that has made transitioning to adulthood difficult. This program uses adventure-based therapy to help students gain a new sense of self-awareness, confidence, and independence. The skills they learn throughout the wilderness program offer long-term benefits towards their ability to successfully self-navigate in the real world. We help individuals learn to engage with their environment, strengthen their sense of self, set goals for themselves, and move towards independence. We combine adventure programming with academic programs to help students plan for future success. Our goal is to help students make sense of and heal from their traumatic beliefs and regain a sense of adventure and purpose in life.
For more information about our adventure-based approach to healing from trauma in young adults, call (877) 296-8711.