It’s a long established fact that children who take part in sport or exercise do better in school than those who don’t.
But what happens when kids go on to higher education? Does the theory still hold water?
It would seem so. Research shows that sport and study are exceptionally happy bedfellows.
University undergraduates that compete at a serious level learn behaviours and acquire qualities that help them excel academically.
For example, taking part in sport while you’re working towards a degree helps students put both activities in perspective. They understand the correlation between training and performance and are better able to commit to putting in the hard graft necessary to earn their degree.
There are lots of opportunities to get involved in sport at university.
The British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) programme champions 47 sports from archery to windsurfing.
Team entries for 2014/15 were up at 4,843 with more than 29,000 students signed up to represent their university in individual sports.
Playing high level sport at university is a growing trend and there are many success stories.
Two years ago footballer Fran Kirby represented GB in the World University Games in Russia and helped the team bring home gold. Now she is a star player for England and currently competing in Canada at the Women’s World Cup. Current football betting markets have England at 33/1 to win the World Cup this time round, but she remains a poster girl for university sport.
Stuck to the game plan today, disappointing to not get a result but we don’t stop there! Delighted to have made my World Cup debut ????
— Fran Kirby (@FranKirbyy) June 9, 2015
Sporting students made their mark at last year’s Commonwealth Games, too. Dozens of them from universities all over the country were selected to compete in sports ranging from swimming to judo.
Loughborough University alone put up 25 of its students to compete. The university has topped the BUCS table, which ranks universities’ sporting achievements, for the last ten years. To put things in perspective, if the university was a country, it would have ranked 11th overall.
There were 11 students from the University of Bath, six from Birmingham, ten from Sheffield Hallam as well as many others. At Durham, where 90 per cent of students take part in sport, four undergraduates competed in the games.
Sports people at the top of their game are generally better organised, disciplined, time-efficient and focused – all very useful skills when it comes to succeeding academically.
But it’s not just your university days that benefit from an active lifestyle.
Research by BUCS in 2013 demonstrated that people involved in university sport could enjoy better employment prospects.
The study showed how sporty graduates possessed many of the personality traits that employers were seeking in a new starter. They are generally able to balance different commitments and conflicting priorities and have a deep rooted understanding of how much work needs to be done to achieve a good outcome.
On top of that, sports loving students tend to be strong team players and have excellent decision-making skills as well as being accomplished communicators.