Monday, March 10, 2014

Intramurals and Their Benefits, by Sam Giunta

            Intramural involvement serves as one of the main outlets for regular physical activity and healthy competition on many campuses. This becomes increasingly more important during the winter months because of the prevalence of varying degrees of seasonal affective disorder.  This physical activity is shown to have emotional and academic benefits in addition to the obvious physical ones.   

             Sports such as volleyball, basketball, trench-ball, tennis, soccer, futsol and flag football are scheduled throughout the academic year at UW La Crosse.  Paid employees of the Eagle Recreational Center referee them.  For many, the incentive of a championship t-shirt is enough to drive competition, leading to exciting shows of amateur sporting.  One UWL sophomore says, “Everyone knows that you’re nobody unless you have a Rec. sports championship shirt.”

            The competition is fun and friendship building, but there are hidden benefits too.   The CDC says that regular physical activity has a significant impact on mental health.  Regular exercise three to five times per week for between thirty and sixty minutes is enough to reap these health benefits, studies have shown.  It has been proven that this regular exercise can keep one’s ability to learn, think and make judgments sharp as he or she ages.  Regular activity also reduces the risk of depression and can even help the active person sleep better.

            Intramural sports play a key role in encouraging this sort of regular physical activity and even standing in for it.  A student who just finished a basketball game said, “Wow, that was a heck of a game, and I’m tired. ”  Another student and intramural volleyball participant sited his experience saying, “If it wasn’t for intramurals, I might never have stepped foot in the REC.”