Covid-19 was something no one saw coming or was prepared for. Though there is a light slowly coming at the end of this long adverse tunnel, it has left behind severe impacts on mental health along the way. Isolation, fear, anxiety – these are all things that millions of people are currently facing, and mental barriers that can be conquered with a simple game of disc golf.
Disc Golf – The Spearheading Sport to Improve Mental Health During the Covid-19 Pandemic and Beyond
From businesses being shut down, millions losing their jobs, to thousands of deaths occurring as a direct result, Covid-19 was certainly something that has left immense impacts on just about every person across the globe in some way or another. But as tragic as these adverse realities may be, let’s not forget just how this pandemic spearheaded mental health concerns as well. In fact, Sweden alone has shown that the population currently has anxiety rates of 24.2%, depression rates of 30%, and insomnia at 38%, according to the NCBI. Jumping over to the United States, 40.9% of adults over 18 reported having at least one mental disorder or are experiencing behavioral health conditions since the pandemic.
Why is this happening?
The answer is really quite simple; COVID-19 has stopped or made it remarkably challenging for people to obtain a healthy living life by doing the things they love to stay mentally stimulated. They are forced to remain socially distant, forfeit their normal lives, and follow the safety measures instilled by the Public Health Agency. Though the regulations are there to keep people safe from the virus, it has clearly instilled pretty detrimental mental health effects along the way. However, before you allow yourself to feel trapped while waiting for the Covid-19 vaccines to come out, know that there is another option you can take on during this time and well beyond to live the quality life you deserve, and it’s called disc golf.
What Is Disc Golf?
Formalized back in the 1970s, Disc golf is one of the most refreshing, mentally empowering, and enjoyment-driven sports you can do. Not only does it provide excellent exercise in a recreational way, but it also is a perfect solution for those who are feeling the weight of Covid-19 and are itching to get back to healthy living activities without putting their physical health on the line. In a nutshell, disc golf is a lot like playing actual golf and a great contact-less sport. But instead of using a ball and clubs to play, you are using a flying disc.
The objective is to throw your flying disc (like a small frisbee) into a standing basket hole from the respected tee box point. You have to get the disc into that said basket in the least number of throws possible, and the player with the least number of strokes in any given round (18 holes) is the winner. The best part? Absolutely anyone can learn to play disc golf. You can start out as slow or as fast as you want, gain that much-desired socialization and fresh air exercise you crave, and learn a new skill all at the same time.
For a video tutorial, you can find that here. It it short and easy to send to a friend who says WHAT is that Disc Golf thing?. Featuring: David Feldberg, Cale Leiviska, Cameron Colglazier, Will Schusterick, Jeremy Koling, and Paige Pierce.
Disc golf history and how to play
Do you want to learn more about Disc Golf, how to play, tips, history and more? Head on over to our wiki page!
How Is Disc Golf Excellent for Mental Health?
Offers Amazing Exercise
First and foremost, there is no denying that disc golf is an amazing outlet for exercise. There is a lot of walking (usually a mile or more per round), and you are using immense lower body and arm muscles because these are the key areas of every throw. If this is your first time trying it, you may even feel a bit sore due to the full-body workout you get. Now, how does this tie into mental health exactly? There are endless research and studies that have proven exercise releases endorphins, which are those feel-good chemicals in your brain. Plus, when you get your heart pumping from the movement, you are giving your brain more access to blood and oxygen, which is excellent for your brain to develop new neural connectors that help you remember better and foster creativity.
Lowers Anxiety and Depression
Along with the endorphins working with you to boost your mood, you are also subjecting yourself to lowered levels of anxiety and depression overall. The reason is because disc golf is known to be a relaxing, yet competitive, sport that supports your mind in reaching a more peaceful state. Not to mention that disc golf gets you out of the house and into nature. In and of itself, nature is known to increase mood, help reduce anxiety and depression and give you natural energy due to the sun’s Vitamin D.
Help You Sleep Better
Sleep is an integral part of cultivating a healthy living lifestyle and building better mental health. Lack of sleep is tied deeply with less tolerance, irritability, anger and may limit your ability to cope with stress. So, if you are someone who is having a hard time sleeping or has insomnia, then disk golf can be a crucial resource for you to consider. By getting involved, you will be reducing your anxiety and stress levels, as noted in point #2, and working out in general can make you sleepier. Aside from the obvious tiring notions from being active, it is believed that when your body heat rises during exercise and then drops when done, it can promote people to fall asleep faster and longer.
Helps You Gain Mental Strength
From building patience, self-confidence, resilience, and dedication, disc golf is fantastic at shaping and helping people develop mental strength to not only succeed on the course, but in everyday life too. As you play and keep practicing, you will get better at tolerating life obstacles and accepting things you cannot control instead of dwelling on them. You will feel more confident in yourself as you keep leveling up, and that self-esteem will be something you will carry with you on and off the course. The strategies and skills you grow from the mentally tough disc golfing game can stretch your mental fortitude, and that is great for your mental health as a whole.
A Great Way to Stay Connected and Socialize
During the pandemic, people feel more disconnected than ever before. People are segregated from their friends and family, and that isolation can do so much damage to one’s mental state. Disc golf is a way to stay safe during this uncertain time and finally get to connect/socialize again. In addition, you are likely to meet new people on the course too, which means you can expand your circle with people who share the same interest as you. This will provide a sense of involvement, accomplishment, and make you feel like a part of the community again.
Mental Health Awareness Week
Since 2021 Mental Health Awareness Week’s theme is Nature and the Environment, it’s a super good time to either try Disc Golf or invite your friends to the sport! Hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, Mental Health Awareness Week will take place from 10-16 May 2021
Also please seek assistance if you’re feeling depressed, stressed or any other mental health issue, you’re loved, you matter and the world would be a much more empty place without you. If you ever need someone to talk to, please make contact with your local professionals. – Max from NordicDiscGolf.com
Mental health quotes
If you find yourself reading this article and feeling like you need a boost, head on over to GoodTherapy’s blog post. They’ve gathered a bunch of encouraging words about overcoming obstacles, seeking help, and stopping shame.
Conclusion – Put Your Mental Health First with Disc Golf
No matter what you are facing right now, whether it be anxiety, depression, or any other mental disorder, understand that you can do something about it without having to worry about your health and well being during uncertain times. Disc golf is a way for you to gain exercise, socialize, meet new people, and learn a new fun skill while being able to forefront your Covid-19 safety practices all at once.
In the end, no, disc golf is by no means a cure-all antidote, and you should, without a doubt, consult your doctor if necessary. However, as small as it may seem compared to other sports, disc golf is a wonderful sport that has proven to play a massive role in boosting mental health among men, women, and kids worldwide. With that being said, go ahead and try it out for yourself to start unlocking your true potential and gain the benefits listed above. Getting started is incredibly cheap and easy to grasp, and above all, will help support you back to that healthy living lifestyle again that you have been missing out on for too long.
Good luck, and have fun!
Disc golf courses