by Rosie Neville, Second Year Economics and Politics
The benefits of sports societies are often overlooked by students. It's understandable as people are often more concerned with settling in, making friends, focusing on their degree or drinking themselves silly. Despite this, the pros that come with joining a sports society can make all these adjustments at university considerably easier.
Furthermore, there is a vast range of sports available at Bristol; whether you want to get fitter through cross country, tone up at pole dancing or nostalgically play benchball with PEGsoc. Keeping healthy at university is vital for your overall well-being, especially after those countless Tupperwares of pesto pasta and the blackout nights at the CoriTap.
Making Friends. Whether you get involved in your favourite sport or try a brand new one, sports societies are an excellent way to meet new people and therefore make new friends at university. This is especially true as you already havesomething in common with both new and existing members of the club. These friendships can only be strengthened after eventful sports nights on the triangle and long coach trips to and from games.
Mental Health. Maybe you had an intense day at the library feeling your brain turn to mush; or perhaps you’ve been in your room bingeing How I Met Your Mother; sport is an invaluable way to improve your mental health. At university, it is normal to find yourself feeling lonely, lost or stressed. It may be that you’re struggling to fit in or you're worried about a looming deadline. Either way, exercise has been scientifically shown to produce ‘happiness chemicals’ like endorphins, dopamine and serotonin-. Indeed, exercise has been proven to reduce stress by 20%.
Physical health. I’m sure it's no shock to you that exercise is beneficial to your physical health. Even so, many people fall short of the mark when it comes to exercise. Joining a sports society is a very good way to avoid this. Regular exercise gets your heart really pumping, something which is proven to improve cardiovascular health and weight management. This is especially relevant for university students, as living on your own for the first time makes falling into unhealthy habits so easy.
Career prospects. It may sound a bit left field, but being a member of a sports team may help your employability. Firstly, you learn important interpersonal skills like teamwork, commitment, time management and leadership. Secondly, physically healthy and active people are positively correlated with higher incomes and higher grade averages. In addition to this, being in a sports society provides people with the opportunity to take on a committee role, giving you experience that is hard to gain anywhere else.
Having fun. A pretty obvious reason for joining a sports society is that they are enjoyable. If you are already a keen sportsperson, Bristol is one of the top 10 universities for sporting achievement in the UK and has multiple high achieving sports teams. As a top-level athlete, you will therefore have the opportunity to reach your full sporting potential. Even if you don’t see yourself as an elite athlete, there are also intramural or development teams which are a less competitive and more relaxed environment than the demands of a BUCS team. Furthermore, if ‘traditional’ sports aren’t your thing, Bristol has you covered with clubs such as PE games society, Quidditch teams and NERF soc.
I hope this article has opened your eyes to the myriad of sporting opportunities available to you as a student here, as well as the range of benefits that come with university sports societies. It is an unspoken truth that opportunities to spontaneously join a sports club beyond university life are few and far between.
Give It A Go, which runs throughout October, gives you the perfect chance to try different sports to choose the one that is best suited to you.
Featured image: Unversity of Bristol Women's Rugby