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Sport is, perhaps, one of the most healthy and useful leisure activities available to people of all ages and nations. Sports help people develop physically and, in many cases, intellectually. Sports games often involve strategy, teamwork, and swift adaptation skills, along with physical strength and endurance. At the same time, even basic jogging or aerobics stimulate mental relaxation and relieve stress. All of that is the reasons why sports are often encouraged to be practiced at schools and universities. While intramural sports are not directly related to the academic progress of children and adolescents, they might have a positive effect on it, largely to such activities’ physical and intellectual stimulation.
Intramural sports are not exactly abstract and are defined as sports activities fully or partially supported by an educational institution. Intramurals might take a variety of forms, from basic physical education (P.E.) lessons to professional or semi-professional football teams and cricket clubs. Intramurals also often include internal competitions between students and a professional approach overall (“5 Reasons Why Intramural Sports Are Awesome”). Hence, intramural work is not only a physical activity for the youth, but they also help students develop a sense of responsibility, discipline, and professionalism if approached properly.
One of the greatest benefits of intramural activities undoubtedly relies on the physical development of young people. As such, Kathleen Burns and her colleagues provided that intramural activities for girls aged 11 to 14 had positive effects on their physical condition and academic progress. The researchers also found that intramurals would positively affect the participants regardless of whether the sport is individual or collective (Burns et al. 2752). Physical activity at a young age is extremely important to all individuals since a proper approach to it allows people to stay healthy further in life.
Intramural sports have also been proved to positively affect academic progress, namely, the student's grades. In the 2019 study authored by Kerri Vasold, Lauren Kosowski, and James Pivarnik, the researchers found that the grades of students involved in intramurals were higher and the chance of freshman students achieving sophomore status would rose to 40% (Vasold et al. 385-386). Hence, it is safe to state that an older group of freshman students is likely to have additional benefits from intramural sports activities. While such a specific study hasn’t been conducted yet, it also becomes possible to assume that young people participating in intramural activities during the school and college levels are likely to complete their studies with higher grades and graduate a college or university at a higher rate.
Some studies, however, would find a negative tendency in intramurals as well. As such, the research by Michael McElveen and Kelly Ibele (2019) found that college students involved in intramural activities would have a lower chance of retention. However, the difference between non-participants and those involved would be below. In the study, the researchers provide an example, in which only 17 athlete-students who discontinued attending their intramurals would remain in the institution out of the class of 46 (McElveen and Ibele 7). Hence, while athlete-students involved in intramurals might get istracted by the activity, which would negatively affect their overall progress, discontinuing an activity mid-year might have even more negative consequences.
It is also noteworthy to note that intramural activities provide an additional opportunity for socialization for children and older students. Regardless of whether a student is involved in an individual or team sports at their institution, they are more likely to develop solid soft skills and socialize more efficiently later in life (“5 Reasons Why Intramural Sports Are Awesome”). This implies that intramural is beneficial not only for the professional development of a student but also for their personal growth as well.
While sports might bring enormous benefits for students of all ages regarding their physical health, intramurals take those benefits to a new level. Intramural activities are much more complex than the basic concept of sports as it often involves teamwork and socialization. Individual sports might be less social, yet they develop discipline and a strong sense of professionalism and responsibility. It is safe to assume that children and youth moderately involved in intramurals are likely to grow into complete and independent adults, who have a higher chance of earning success in adult life.
"5 Reasons Why Intramural Sports Are Awesome". Rockhurst.Edu, 2022, https://www.rockhurst.edu/admissions-advice/5-reasons-why-intramural-sports-are-awesome.
Burns, Kathleen E. et al. "Examining If Changes in The Type of School-Based Intramural Programs Affect Youth Physical Activity Over Time: A Natural Experiment Evaluation". International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol 18, no. 5, 2021, p. 2752. MDPI AG, https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18052752. Accessed 23 Apr 2022.
McElveen, Michael, and Kelly Ibele. "Retention And Academic Success of First-Year Student-Athletes and Intramural Sports Participants". Recreational Sports Journal, vol 43, no. 1, 2019, pp. 5-11. SAGE Publications, https://doi.org/10.1177/1558866119840466. Accessed 23 Apr 2022.
Vasold, Kerri L. et al. "Academic Success And 1 Year of Intramural Sports Participation By Freshmen Students". Journal Of College Student Retention: Research, Theory &Amp; Practice, vol 23, no. 2, 2019, pp. 383-392. SAGE Publications, https://doi.org/10.1177/1521025119833000. Accessed 23 Apr 2022.
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