By: Thomas Oshana

Is it possible to be physically, socially and mentally healthy at the same time? With all the stresses and worries of school, the answer is actually yes. While it sounds counter-intuitive, putting more time towards participating in intramurals and clubs instead of worrying about academics is the best decision you could make. There are only beneficial outcomes to engaging in at least one intramural or club.

A comprehensive study and analysis of existing research by the National Institutes of Health found that leisure-time physical activity is associated with reduced risk of 13 different types of cancer. Physical activity also helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints, which will help control weight, reduce fat and prevent the development of high blood pressure. Although it is typically intramurals that provide these physical benefits, there are many clubs that also promote a healthy lifestyle.

Being a part of a team will also help you develop cognitive skills. The Government Accountability Office has found activities common to intramurals and clubs can affect attitudes and academic behaviour, including enhanced concentration, attention and improved academic performance. Regular physical and social activities will help keep your mental skills sharp.

There are multiple social benefits as well. In both intramurals and clubs, there are amazing social communities that you will be welcomed in to.  This social aspect can positively affect the crucial aspect in the development of self-esteem, goal setting and leadership in students. You will learn teamwork and communication skills and likely get a boost in self-confidence. Your overall self-image may positively change. As a result of this, you will gain a feeling of pride. You will be more encouraged and motivated to continue involving in activities and now may be more inclined to social activities both outside and in the school.

Through intramurals and clubs, you will gain or improve upon your physical, mental and social health, as well as learn core skills such as teamwork and collaboration. Yes, they can take up time with practices, games, events and meetings. However, the benefits that you will gain will far outweigh the couple of hours you may lose during the week.

Pushing precious time aside that could be used for school involvement is not the solution to keeping busy. There are no benefits to not getting involved — citing that intramurals and clubs are too “time-consuming” is nothing more than an excuse. School involvement in intramurals and clubs will not only make you overall healthier, but will also allow you to have an overall enjoyable time. You will meet new people, make new friends and create long lasting memories that you will never forget.

Play and join in at least one intramural or club throughout university because in the years to come, when you are physically, mentally and socially healthier and hanging around the friends you made along the way, you will be satisfied knowing that putting yourself out there and engaging in the school community was the best choice you ever made.

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