Exercise has serious affects on both our brains and body; it has it’s common advantages such as weight loss and muscle gain, but also has underlying mental benefits, as it can improve focus and concentration, and kills two birds with one stone as it conquers unwanted stress.

A scattered brain is not desirable, and for an athlete with big aspirations it will do nothing besides give you another obstacle to overcome. Exercise improves your concentration and mental awareness, filtering out this undesirable scattered brain. Your focus  towards the game is vital, if you aren’t willing to (or aren’t able to) give your training, instruction, and game your full focus, you won’t be fulfilling all it has to offer. Exercising often has been repeatedly proven to increase your focus, which can help ensure that you take everything there is to offer from training of any kind. At this point, not only are you getting stronger, more flexible, or faster, but you also are likely to be improving your mental game.

Exercise, no matter how simple or how intense, is a stress reliever, as it releases these “happy chemicals” that cause us to destress. As an athlete, this can have serious benefits. Your physical performance can take a hit simply because of too much stress, it’s actually believed to be the reason why several athletes “choke”. An excessive amount of stress greatly hinders our brain’s ability to make decisions rationally and quickly. On the baseball field, this can make the difference between strike out and base hit, and furthermore the difference between win and lose. Decision making is vital in the game of baseball, and therefore, taking on excessive amounts stress will only cause your abilities to regress.

It often proves true that the worst place for an athlete to be is in their own head: it’s absolutely vital for a successful athlete to know how to manage and reduce stress in order to perform at an optimal level. Utilizing exercise as a stress reliever is ultimately a win-win-win: you’re exercising and therefore more than likely improving your game, you’re reducing this stress that will potentially cause you trouble, and increasing your focus so that you’re able to take everything out of your playing time, training, and instruction.

One must however keep in mind: A small dose of stress is ideal as it will help you prepare and focus, therefore causing you to perform at an optimal level. Pregame nerves are completely normal and count towards this “good stress.” Nerves before any sort of competition aren’t to be frowned upon; they simply signify that you want it bad enough.

Guest Post By: Taylor Bouchard