Mental health is just as important as physical health. Though fencing in particular and sports in general are well known for how they benefit us physically, there are also a huge number of ways that they boost mental health.
Mood happens on a spectrum, from being far down in the dumps to being elated and excited. What we want is to stay in the middle somewhere for the most part. The low lows can help us to learn resilience, and the high highs can of course boost us tremendously.
The trouble with the high highs is that, if we become too attached to them, we can spend too much time chasing them. This keeps us from being able to live in the present, as we’re always thinking about how great it felt to have that big experience. The trouble with the low lows is of course that they bring us down. Both can be disruptive to our mood and throw our life off course.
Being relaxed allows you to be present in the moment, without worrying too much about the future or fretting too much about the past. Physical activity of any kind releases brain chemicals that relax our minds and even our moods.
Regular fencing gives you an additional mood boost because of the constant competitive nature. Point, point, point – sometimes for the opponent and sometimes for yourself. It gives you a consistent sense of being in that middle, even as you are excited and ready to go. This isn’t just about the physical benefits that fuel mood improvement, it’s also how the highly competitive nature of fencing gives us a regular mood boost. The highs and lows aren’t so drastic, but they are still exciting enough to engage us.
Beyond those, there’s also the mood boost from the social nature of the sport. Though this is an individual sport, it’s also in direct competition with an opponent. The camaraderie, even with the person on the other side of the strip, is a great boost for a fencer’s mood.