For a long time, sports have been viewed as a way to stay healthy and in shape, but their importance goes much further. As a matter of fact, playing sports teaches life lessons like discipline, responsibility, self-confidence, accountability, and teamwork.
Studies have shown that exercise increases blood flow to the brain and helps the body build more connections between nerves, leading to increased concentration, enhanced memory, stimulated creativity, and better-developed problem-solving skills. In short, playing sports helps your brain grow and makes it work better.
From a social standpoint, sports are a powerful tool that brings people together and creates a sense of community. They develop connections that bond together people from all walks of life. As an international student at the University of Rochester, playing pick-up basketball at the gym was the fastest and easiest way to make friends. As a matter of fact, during my second day on campus, I had the chance to make two friends who showed me around and gave me tips about life in Rochester.
As an undergraduate student who majored in electrical engineering and electronics, I had very challenging classes and occasionally had to deal with bad homework or midterm grades; my ego took a bad hit whenever that happened. I believe that playing sports taught me how to deal with failure and disappointment in life. I learned that I am not always going to get the results that I want, but no matter what, I have to persevere and not give up. Sports gave me a positive attitude where I see falling as a way to learn how to pick myself up.
In addition to that, exercising is a great way to get out of the stressful college life that is all about homework, presentations, and group projects. In fact, playing sports helps students relax and reduce their anxiety. I personally think that I would go crazy without going to the gym at least three times a week. Healthcare professionals recommend physical activity as a key ingredient to any stress-management activity.
The reason most students do not play sports is that they feel lazy about it and don’t have the energy for it. However, the belief that the intense exercise of playing sports will leave you exhausted has been proven wrong by research. Because exercise pumps more oxygen through your blood and makes your entire system more active, the benefits of playing sports actually include giving you more energy to accomplish everything else you need to do to manage your busy college schedule.
To sum up, playing college sports has some serious benefits. Besides just being fun, sports can help you perform better in school, relax more and worry less, deal with setbacks, work better with others and increase your energy — all of which helps you balance school and everything else going on in your life.
~Amir Ianis KHELIL ’15 (MS)