Sports offer a wide range of benefits that extends well beyond the physical. The social aspects of sport are perhaps the least talked about benefits of sport, `so we’re going to spend some time exploring the subject. It is worth noting that the social effects of sports are more pronounced in younger participants, especially adolescents compared to adults. So how does sport influence us socially?
There is a clear correlation between sport and exercise and academic performance. Studies have demonstrated that children who participate in sporting activities achieve as much as 10% higher academic achievements compared to their counterparts who stayed clear of sports.
There are two primary reasons for this. One, people who are involved in sports have higher mental and physical stamina, and are more prepared to overcome challenges. The second reason is endorphins, a class of chemicals released by the brain during physical activities. These chemicals have been shown to enhance memory, improve concentration, reduce stress and elevate mood – ingredients which provide a clear advantage in the academic world.
Participants of team sports develop the ability to share goals, create strategy, work in a team, and provide feedback to other members of the group – often under pressure. These skills are transferable to the real world, and provide participants with the know-how and experience to manage the dynamics of social relationships. Participants also pick up other soft skills such as sportsmanship, handling criticisms and assertiveness in team sports. These verbal and non-verbal skills provide them with the ability to excel in social settings.
Aside from the numerous health benefits, women, or rather girls, who are active in sports have lower incidences of teen pregnancy, contracting sexually-transmitted diseases, and suicides. The confidence developed on the field of play during adolescence and teenage years is believed to give young women the assertiveness to protect themselves against peer pressure in social settings. Remarkably, girls who participate in sports are also 73 percent more likely to obtain a degree.
The competitive spirit kindled during sporting activities will prove to be useful for boys when they grow up. Men who participated in sports in school are more likely to achieve promotion in the workplace, and earn, on average, 31 percent higher wages compared to their non-sporting peers. Additionally, men with a network of friends developed from team sports tend to have increase involvement in community affairs and are more rooted to their hometowns.
Based on empirical data, it’s very clear that involvement in sports for children will accord them with great social advantages during adulthood.
© pacehealth.org.uk 2017. All Rights Reserved