Starting University was an amazing experience for me, I found that I had enjoyable subjects, made a good group of friends early on, and had plenty of free time to socialise, relax and play sport. So I always found myself confused when people say stuff along the lines of:
- “Ugh I’m so stressed, I have no time to complete everything!”
Or stuff like:
- “I haven’t been to *insert sport here* in ages!”
There are many various factors why someone might not play/stop playing sport, therefore the question I aim to research is:
“Does University affect Students’ ability to participate in leisure activities, specifically sport?”
Since the age of 4, I have been involved in some form of sport, whether it was Tennis, Surf Life Saving/Nippers, Swimming, Basketball or Touch Footy, both for fun and to stay healthy. Therefore, the idea of having to stop playing sport altogether isn’t something I’d want to consider. As I live only a short drive from the University, I believe I have been fortunate to be able to fit sport into my schedule, since I don’t have to deal with travelling long distances each day. However, there are many other reasons why University Students might not play sport, some potential factors could be:
- Their classes schedule doesn’t allow it/takes up too much time.
- They have work commitments.
- They have family commitments.
- They moved to be closer to University and don’t know how to get involved.
- Or they just don’t like sport!
On the 16th of March I began my research into my question, by tweeting this poll:
The responses I received from this initial poll indicate that playing sport places you in the minority, as 68.7% of those surveyed do not play sport. In “Young adults drop exercise with move to college or university”, a sample size of 683 Canadian adolescents were surveyed from the ages of 12-15, twice a year, over 12 years, and found a 24% decrease in the amount of physical activity they participated in, which suggests that a large amount of people do indeed stop physical activity as they grow up, which I believe suggests that factors such as university do prevent participation in sport (McMaster University, 2011).
My initial sample of the #BCM212 community shows that only 38.7% have continued to play sport whilst studying at UOW, however, only 31 people voted out of the almost 230 students (The Big Spreadsheet) currently taking the subject, as well as the #BCM210 UOW Hong Kong Cohort. Therefore, as my research progresses, I expect to receive more answers, which will change the results I end with.
Brechot, Nüesch and Franck (2017, p.4871) claim it is far more beneficial to play sport, as there is “a positive correlation between physical inactivity and a wide variety of detrimental health outcomes such as obesity, hypertension, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, diabetes mellitus, colon and breast cancer, depression”. Similarly, “the most physically active people are at the lowest risk”, as “there is incontrovertible evidence that regular physical activity contributes to the primary and secondary prevention of several chronic diseases and is associated with a reduced risk of premature death” (Warburton, Nicol and Bredin, 2006).
The World Health Organisation also states that insufficient physical activity is a leading factor in deaths worldwide each year, and 1 in 4 adults are not active enough. The recommended amount of exercise for Adults aged 18-64 is a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity per week (World Health Organisation, 2018). The Department of Health Australia also states that a regular exercise routine is essential in maintaining wellbeing and preventing chronic disease and obesity (The Department of Health, 2019).
I believe my study is relevant, as UOW needs to consider and cater to all Students’ best interests, and ensuring these students have the correct facilities they need for relieving stress and staying healthy whilst studying at UOW, whether that be through sport or other recreational activities, should be a top priority for the University. Therefore, by discovering whether University or other factors are preventing students from participating in sport, changes could be made to ensure students are able to participate in the recommended amount of exercise they need to stay healthy.
I plan to complete this over the course of the autumn session, by conducting surveys and posting on twitter, in the hopes of gaining as many responses as possible from the #BCM212 and #BCM210 cohorts, to achieve the most accurate results possible. However, interviewing people may prove to be difficult due to the current Covid-19 restrictions. One limitation to my study is that this only takes into account one subject of one degree at UOW, therefore, conducting a full University survey would offer the most realistic results.
Stay tuned to see how my project goes!
Brechot, M Nüesch, S Franck, E 2017, ‘Does sports activity improve health? Representative evidence using local density of sports facilities as an instrument’, Applied Economics, vol. 49, pp. 4871, viewed 27 March 2020, https://eds-a-ebscohost-com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=2&sid=fa8b5bcd-20f6-468e-81ad-663e5800c05f%40sessionmgr4008
McMaster University 2011, ‘Young adults drop exercise with move to college or university’, ScienceDaily, accessed 26th March 2020, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111215232728.htm
The Department of Health 2019, Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines and the Australian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines, viewed 28th March 2020 https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/health-pubhlth-strateg-phys-act-guidelines
Warburton, D Nicol, C & Bredin, S 2006, ‘Health benefits of physical activity: the evidence’, CMAJ, vol. 174, issue 6, accessed 28 March 2020 https://www.cmaj.ca/content/174/6/801.long
World Health Organization 2018, Physical Activity, viewed 26th March 2020, https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/physical-activity