The role of sports in holistic patient care


Holistic nursing addresses the complete needs of the patient, from tending to their immediate health issues to looking at their lifestyle choices and overall wellbeing. Increasingly, nurses are applying this approach to their care with the long-term aim of improving the health and wellbeing of the community they work in.

One of the ways they may practice holistic nursing is by promoting participation in sports. This article will examine how integrating sports into practice in this way is a major component of holistic care. If you have an interest not just in caring for others in their time of need but also helping them to achieve health goals, then this article is for you. In addition to understanding the role of sports in holistic care, we will also review how you can train to become a nurse in less than two years if you have a Bachelor’s degree in another subject.

Below are some of the advantages of integrating sports into a holistic care model:

More about holistic care

Holistic care is delivered in many ways. These include offering physical care, such as providing medication and tending to wounds, advising on a healthy diet and helping patients to set goals for physical activities and participating in sports.

This approach offers many patient benefits, including:

  • Personalized care that considers a patient’s overall health and wellbeing
  • Patient empowerment, which encourages them to take ownership of their health status
  • Preventive care, which works to avoid disease as much as treat it

These are just a few of the advantages of holistic care, which benefit patients, the professionals caring for them and the overall healthcare system as it helps prevent disease and safeguard resources. Integrating sports into holistic care has many benefits. A review into the health benefits of practicing physical activity and sports emphasized the link between exercise and good physical and mental health, so it stands to reason that it should be included in any holistic care package.

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How nurses integrate sports into holistic care

It’s clear that a holistic approach is preferred in modern nursing. Let’s review some of the ways that nurses integrate sports into holistic care to achieve many benefits for their patients:

By promoting physical activity

Nurses, particularly those working in primary care, may promote physical activity to their patients as a means of managing health conditions. For example, if a patient is found to have high cholesterol, their nurse can work with them to make lifestyle changes, including incorporating more physical activity into their routine to help lower their levels. Nurses may also promote exercise to help patients retain good health. Together, they can set goals around physical activity and discuss which types suit the patient’s lifestyle and abilities.

By providing sports therapy for rehabilitation

Sports are a valuable component of patient rehabilitation. Nurses caring for patients who have injuries or have undergone surgery may suggest appropriate sports therapy to aid their recovery and restore mobility and function. Sports as therapy also benefit patients who have experienced illnesses that have left them bed-bound for long periods or health episodes that have affected their mobility, such as stroke. Thanks to their extensive training, nurses will be able to suggest ability-appropriate activities, tailored to their patients’ individual needs or refer them to a physical therapist as needed.

By team building for mental health

Holistic nursing practices focus as much on mental health and wellbeing as physical issues. Nurses who specialize in psychiatry may suggest team sports to aid the recovery of patients affected by issues such as anxiety and depression. It’s recognized that physical activity releases “feel good” hormones, so it makes sense that sports should be included in care plans for patients living with mental health conditions to help lift their mood and aid recovery.

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By sports events and social engagement

Similarly, mental health nurses may encourage their patients to attend and participate in sports events for their physical and emotional benefits. The social aspects of these types of events and activities can help inspire a sense of belonging, promoting emotional balance and positivity and counteracting the symptoms of mental health issues.

By mind and body connection through yoga and meditation

One of the principles of holistic care is that mind, body and spirit are interconnected and that when you nourish one of these aspects, all benefit simultaneously. Nurses working in mental health services may create care plans for their patients that include activities such as yoga and meditation, which instill a sense of wellbeing and promote the unity of all aspects of a patient’s health and wellbeing.

How you could train as a nurse 

If you believe in the power of holistic care and have a special interest in wellbeing, then training to become a nurse could result in a satisfying and long-lived career pathway for you. If you have a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field, you can enroll on an accelerated course of study to qualify as a nurse in as little as 16 months. For those with an interest in nursing in Idaho, pursuing an online Accelerated Bachelor of Science (ABSN) program at a reputable institution such as Rockhurst University is an ideal choice. This program is designed for candidates with a non-nursing degree who want to transition into the exciting field of nursing. 

With 100% online coursework and one 10-day on-campus residency, this program also provides clinical placement support to help you find a local placement where you can employ your knowledge and skills without traveling far from home. This course prepares you to take the nursing practice (NCLEX) exam in preparation for a varied and satisfying career in nursing.

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Nursing: A sound career choice

For anyone with an interest in holistic care which includes sports, and how it can aid recovery and promote wellbeing, training to become a nurse is a sound career choice. The online Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing course is one of the quickest and most convenient ways to fulfill this aim. An ABSN opens the way to a long and varied career path, where you will enjoy the satisfaction of helping patients achieve their health goals through empowering activities. 


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