• Singapore FC

558 days later...

28 Days Later is a post-apocalyptic zombie film, that depicts the breakdown of society after a highly contagious virus, has infected the globe.

558 days later is the amount of time since our football club last played a match… after a highly contagious virus has infected the globe.

In the film, the main characters struggle to cope with the destruction of the life they once knew. However, by coming together they gain strength and support each other to overcome numerous, insurmountable challenges.

In Singapore today, many of us feel like we are struggling to cope with the destruction of the life we once knew. We are faced with our own numerous, insurmountable challenges: loneliness, stress; depression; rising mental health concerns for adolescents; falling concentration levels and last, but not least Coronasomnia.

At Singapore Football Club, even with the current restrictions in place for Singapore’s “Stabilisation Phase”, we are optimistic that it won’t be another 558 days, until we are allowed to kick another football competitively.

However, with anxiety, depression, stress and insomnia levels all rising across society, here is a great reminder of the many positive, mental benefits that sports like football can provide us with, in order to cope. The mental benefits of sport, especially for children, cannot be overstated.

1). Sport reduces stress and depression

Want a burst of happiness and relaxation? Clue: It’s not binge watching Squid Game.

Whether you are playing team sport, kicking a ball or simply taking a brisk walk, any form of physical activity triggers endorphins that make you feel happier and more relaxed. When you are physically active, your mind is distracted from daily stresses. Something most of us could certainly do with today.

In simple terms, sporting activity helps people avoid negativity, whilst simultaneously reducing the levels of stress hormones in their bodies. Find out more here.

2). Mental benefits of sport for children

A recent NHS Digital survey in the United Kingdom reported that “…one in six children in England had a probable mental disorder in 2021 - similar to 2020, and up from one in nine in 2017.” Furthermore nearly 40% of six to 16-year-olds, and half of 17 to 23-year-olds, said they felt their mental health had got worse over that time. Girls were more affected than boys.”

Significantly, however, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have also found that sports participation during the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with significant mental and physical health benefits in adolescents.

Students that returned to sport participation in the autumn of 2020 reported lower anxiety and depression symptoms. The report concluded that “…continuing the sports for students as we go through the COVID-19 pandemic is complicated, requires consolidated efforts, but it is essential.” Report link here.

3). Sport improves your concentration

Amongst the many ailments that have received headlines during the pandemic, one of the most disconcerting is “COVID Brain Fog”. Details around this condition can be found in the Harvard Medical School link here , but it is worth highlighting that the first activity that the author suggests is… you guessed it, regular sporting exercise (Dr. Andrew E. Budson is a cognitive & behavioral neurology expert and, lecturer in neurology at Harvard Medical School).

In fact regular physical activity enables you to keep your mind sharp, regardless of whether you are suffering from COVID-19 Brain Fog, or any other mental sluggishness.

Participating in any mix of aerobic and muscle strengthening activities three to five times a week for at least thirty minutes can help provide significant mental health benefits.

4). Sport improves sleep habits

Coronasomnia… Yes, you read that correctly, although hopefully you are not part of the 51% of Singaporeans that have had trouble sleeping during the pandemic. The Straits Times, March 2021.

Lack of sleep for many people was already a problem, before COVID-19 arrived. Now, with increased stress, grief, and anxiety levels that the pandemic has brought, more people are reporting more sleep problems than ever before.

Sport and other forms of physical activity have been proven to improve an individuals’ quality of sleep. It does this by helping you fall asleep faster, and then deepening your sleep.

As reported by the Sleep Foundation “Studies have found that regular aerobic exercise for prolonged periods can improve sleep quality and reduce excessive daytime sleepiness for people with insomnia.”

What Next?

Whilst Singapore makes steady progress, towards the Government’s objective of an endemic state, at Singapore Football Club we remain committed to providing access to football for girls and boys across Singapore, within the permitted guidelines.

Whilst we hope it won’t be another 558 days, until we next play a match in Singapore, we are still focused on keeping our members fit and healthy, both physically and mentally. The benefits of sport are plain to see.

If you’re looking for ways to get either your children, or yourself, healthy and active through football, regardless of age or ability, come and find out more here.


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