Spaeth: Playing an intramural sport can be the perfect exercise

Originally Posted on Emerald Media via UWIRE

Before coming to college, many students stayed active through athletic programs or PE classes at school. Once students come to college, many subconsciously distance themselves from their previously active lifestyles. It’s tough to push yourself to go to the Student Rec Center when you’d rather be in bed watching Netflix.

Between classes, jobs, internships, clubs and our ever-expanding social calendar, college students are busy. Most of us are also career procrastinators. Signing up for an intramural sport gives your day structure and ensures a designated time for exercise. It’s easy to forget to work out, but with a scheduled game time you are required to lace up your gym shoes and show up.

The University of Oregon offers a wide variety of intramurals across all terms. You can try out a new sport or throw yourself into one of the more unique activities like battleship or dodgeball. If you were really passionate about a sport growing up, IM leagues give you a chance to continue playing on a team with less of a time commitment than club sports. Some IMs offer a competitive league and a non-competitive league which helps more experienced players play with people at their skill level. There are different sports offered each term and you can either make your own team or join a team as a free agent.

Although the benefits of an active lifestyle are widely publicized, college students are busy and the gym is often not a priority. IM sports give students an opportunity to stay active and be part of a team without overwhelming their schedules. IM championship t-shirts, given to the winners of each league, are a hot commodity on campus. It’s an extra incentive to play, and win, so you can show off your shirt. So getting out and joining a team, even with complete strangers, is a great way to stay active and social.

While it is difficult, staying active has been proven to help with mental health, better memory retention and an overall healthier body and mind, especially in college students. Playing an intramural sport can be an exciting and competitive way to exercise.

Exercising is a mood booster. Getting out of your room, the library or wherever you are studying and away from work is a great way to clear your head, and getting exercise is a productive study break. Exercise is a sure way to increase your endorphin levels which in turn will make you feel better. Frequent exercise helps relieve stress and can treat anxiety.

All in all, exercise is good for you, and not just because your mom said so. A recent study on humans and animals show that regular exercise has beneficial effects on brain development. The New York Times article, “How Exercise Could Lead to a Better Brain” covers an experiment done on mice in 2011 at the University of Illinois. The experiment presented evidence showing exercise as a direct link to an increase memory retention and a decrease in brain shrinkage.

Playing IM sports can be incredibly fun and is a great way to make friends. When week eight hits, it’s easy to get swept up in finals preparation and forget to take care of yourself. By playing an intramural you are designating time to hang out with your friends and if you are on a team with strangers it is a good way to make new friends. By playing on a team together, even if you don’t realize it, you are bonding and building trust. You can find more information about registering and teams on the UO REC website.

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