The period of crisis that the planet is currently going through in connection with COVID-19 obviously affects us all to different degrees. The sport community is no exception. Of course, we think first of all of these professional leagues which had to interrupt their activities, of all these championships, events and tournaments which are canceled or postponed… not to mention the biggest sporting event, the Tokyo Olympic Games which are officially carried over to 2021.
It is easy to empathize with athletes of all skill levels who are committed to practicing their sport and who are now at risk of missing their much-awaited competitions. Their performance and results could probably have had a decisive influence, first on the pleasure and satisfaction they would have had there, but also perhaps for the rest of their sport career.
Beyond these missed appointments, this sudden emptiness, this unusual free time, this inactivity, the lack of socialization but also the disappointments and uncertainty induced by the current situation can be enough to cause anxiety, psychological distress, even symptoms of depression among young athletes. This is why it is important to offer them support during these difficult times for all.
It is important to clarify that these symptoms do not affect only high-performance athletes, that all athletes, especially the youngest may be at risk. Why? In connection with our previous reflection on bigorexia, the lack of physical activity by our young athletes could induce a feeling of powerlessness and unusual behaviors such as insomnia, irritability, passivity or eating disorders. In addition, our young athletes who are used to spending several hours a day training, find themselves in deficit of dopamine and endorphin, these famous molecules associated with pleasure … Finally, the sudden and sometimes complete cessation of all physical activity imposed by the current confinement perhaps confronts them with the particular relationship they maintain for their sport practice.
Thus, high level athletes, young athletes but also the vast majority of us had to stop their usual physical activities with the closure of the various sports facilities (sports centers, training rooms, swimming pools, fields, etc.). The risks of suffering the repercussions of this sudden stop are great and very present for all athletes, regardless of their level of practice.
For all those who may have the impression of having lost their bearings, no longer recognize themselves, feel a vacuum or discomfort since the start of confinement and the cessation of their sporting practice, your feelings are normal and could be directly linked to the sudden and drastic cessation of your physical activity.
How to overcome it?
The first step is to become aware of it and talk about it. To do this, we would like to remind you that you can contact our Sport’Aide stakeholders. Our team is available at all times to listen to and support you during this particular period.
Also be aware that there are several ways to maintain a level of physical activity at home in order to promote the secretion of a minimum quantity of these molecules that create and release well-being. As such, we invite you to browse the publications of your respective federations or clubs which often give ideas of exercises to do at home (e.g. Hockey Quebec). Otherwise, why not take advantage of these periods of forced rest to try to discover new areas of interest or reconnect with a passion that has been forgotten or sometimes neglected due to lack of time? Finally, although physical activity takes a predominant place in the life of any sports enthusiast, the opportunity is good to realize that sport alone should not define us as an individual. Sport can be a part of our lives, perhaps important, but not an end in itself.
Do you miss your sport, your friends or your team and need to talk about it? Contact the Sport’Aide team.
Beyond these missed appointments, this sudden emptiness, this unusual free time, this inactivity, the lack of socialization but also the disappointments and uncertainty induced by the current situation can be enough to cause anxiety, psychological distress, even symptoms of depression among young athletes.