Finding a
Finding a "fitness buddy" could be a way for Gympie athletes to cope with the indefinite loss of community sport.

USC expert says ‘fitness buddy’ can help with virus stress

SPORT: Finding a “fitness buddy” to achieve personal goals with could be a way for Gympie athletes among thousands around the country to cope with the indefinite loss of community sport.

That’s the advice of University of the Sunshine Coast expert Dr Rachael Sharman, as uncertainty around the return of local sporting fixtures looks set to remain for some time to come.

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USC Lecturer in Psychology Dr Rachael Sharman. Photo Contributed
USC Lecturer in Psychology Dr Rachael Sharman. Photo Contributed

A Senior Lecturer in Psychology at USC, Dr Sharman said “the importance of team sports, especially for young people should not be underestimated” in its impact on psychological health.

“For many the combination of strong social connections, working together to achieve a goal, all within the context of intense exercise is extremely beneficial for their psychological health,” Dr Sharman said.

“Team sports allow the formation of connections with other human beings, proving competence for those who are achievement-motivated and the opportunity to exercise our free will in engaging in an activity that we find intrinsically enjoyable.

“From a psychological point of view, it hits all bases of psychological needs that underpin mental wellbeing.”

Dr Rachael Sharman, psychologist in the University of the Sunshine Coast psychology department. Photo Darryn Smith / Sunshine Coast Daily
Dr Rachael Sharman, psychologist in the University of the Sunshine Coast psychology department. Photo Darryn Smith / Sunshine Coast Daily

Dr Sharman said completing workouts with a “fitness buddy” would fill the hole left by the absence of team sports and help athletes manage issues around stress, anxiety and loneliness during the pandemic.

“I think it is useful for people to think of a substitute and to build that into a set routine. For example, if you normally train as part of a squad, substitute that for a daily jog,” she said.

“Preferably with a fitness buddy, which is allowed under the rules. Of course, it’s not the same as operating as a team, but it keeps you fit, and keeps you motivated towards self-improvement.

“And your coach will certainly appreciate your efforts to keep yourself in good shape for when the season does open up.

“Think about also recruiting members of your household to engage in fitness sessions, even if it’s just a brisk walk, or a challenge of 50 sit ups per day. All fitness is good for young and old – make it a daily priority.

“Also do remember this does have an end point, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Australia’s progress through this virus is very impressive and I personally would be extremely surprised to see the entire year of team sports wiped out.

“Think of this as a delay, not a cancellation.”

Gympie Times


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