The benefits of Queen's intramural sports

Playing intramurals has mental, physical and social benefits

Coburn finds intramural sports have helped him become active again.

Earlier this month, with five minutes to spare before my first philosophy lecture of the year, I was sprinting down University Avenue to make it to class on time.

I ran up the stairs of Kingston Hall and slumped into a chair, sweating and gasping for air. I was reminded that I’m not a shred of the athlete I used to be in high school.

With an irregular sleep schedule, a demanding workload and a diet of mostly pasta, my fitness level has taken a toll.

Sitting in lecture, wondering how I could improve my fitness, I found my answer by mindlessly looking over at my classmate on her laptop. She was signing up for an intramural team.

I soon discovered Queen’s has an extensive intramural program run through the ARC. The program spans various sports, from dodgeball to innertube water polo. After joining a team in my second year, I have felt the physical, mental, and social benefits.

One month into the new school year, I’m the captain of an intramural soccer team and play intramural basketball. The teams are comprised of eleven and seven players, respectively. I knew some of my teammates beforehand, and others I’m just now getting the pleasure of meeting.

Participating on an intramural team is a great way to be active and enjoy weekly exercise. Like many students, I have a heavy work schedule and spend lots of my time sitting in chairs and desks.

Playing on an intramural team gives me an organized platform and scheduled time to be active, which is conducive to a healthy lifestyle.

Playing on an intramural team gives me an organized platform and scheduled time to be active, which is conducive to a healthy lifestyle.

The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that “adults ages 18 to 64 get at least 150 minutes (or 2.5 hours) of moderate-to vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week.”

This kind of weekly exercise reduces weight gain and benefits the heart, lung, and other organ functions, which increases one’s lifespan. By playing in a weekly intramural game and supplementing it with minor, additional exercise, I’m able to regularly achieve 150 minutes.

Not only has playing intramural sports physically benefitted me, but it’s also helped my mental health. As someone who is prone to bouts of stress and anxiety, getting to run around and play sports for an hour with my friends has made my university experience much more enjoyable.

Engaging in regular physical activity has also improved my mental health by warding off potential symptoms of depression.

According to Science Alert, “one hour of exercise a week can be enough to prevent depression” in some cases. This comes as a surprise and unexpectedly comforts me—it’s nice learning about new ways to manage your mental health.

By playing intermural sports, I’ve also been given the opportunity to form new friendships and strengthen old ones.

Working to achieve a collective goal is a great way to develop comradery and trust with others. While playing on soccer and basketball teams with my friends, I’ve found other types of common ground with my teammates aside from a shared passion for sports, like interests in music and fashion.

I encourage all Queen’s students to sign up for intramural sports next semester. If your experience is anything like mine, it can help benefit you physically, mentally and socially.

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