Skyline University Nigeria

Sports as tool for physical and mental development

Discussions on sporting participation and success, particularly academic achievement, have been on for decades with many highlighting the positive effects of sports on people.

Whether children, teenagers, or adults, studies have regularly demonstrated that physically active people remain healthier and are able to perform better on tests of cerebral or intellectual ability.

Some studies even indicated that the results are sharp and immediate, claiming that even a quick five-minute walk can yield instant results.

The studies also established a direct correlation between physical activity and academic performance.

Sports enthusiasts have claimed that participation in any kind of sports help athlete to develop “ a sound mind.”

However, some have expressed divergent views on the matter, arguing that sporting participation hampered students’ ability to excel in academic works because of time dedicated to such activities.

What are the benefits of sporting activities?

An instructor at National Institute for Sports (NIS) in Lagos, Clement Nkong, described sports as key to happy and successful life.

“There is increased cognitive ability that comes from playing sports. Physical activity naturally increases blood flow to the brain and activates endorphins, chemicals that are released when you exercise.

“Endorphins can impact your mood and work performance, meaning athletes may be more willing and capable of tackling that next big problem.

“Sports also help emotional development. For example, exercise can lead to a unique state of short-term relaxation. That relaxation can promote increased concentration, better memory, enhanced creativity, more effective problem solving, and an improved mood. These are benefits that will extend into the classroom.

“Sports men and women are constantly working with other people, many of whom later become role models. Sports foster mentorship between older players and younger players, coaches and athletes, and more. Coaches in particular can play an important role in a young athlete’s life. Players who have positive sports mentors when they’re young are also more likely to seek effective role models throughout their life,” he added.

Sports also help to develop individuals’ social interaction, according to a one-time national table tennis player, Seun Kukoyi.

“There are other benefits accrued from engaging in sporting activities. Sports or games help you to become more self discipline, teach you to give your best every time. For example, employers love to see their employees giving their best at work. And while you play sports, giving your best is the only goal.

“It also help to improve individual’s decision making ability. This helps in later stage when you have to make key decisions about your life and career. It also help in team building because teamwork and social interaction are very important in sports,” he said.