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The Relationship Between Socialization & Physical Activity

Instructor: John Hamilton

John has tutored algebra and SAT Prep and has a B.A. degree with a major in psychology and a minor in mathematics from Christopher Newport University.

In this lesson, we discuss the relationship between exercising and socialization. We review the benefits that this relationship can bring and detail some of the popular activities. We also elaborate on senior citizens' benefits of socialization along with the use of the Internet.

Socialization and Fitness

While many of us like to go for a long, lonely run from time to time, many of us also like to go to the gym to talk with friends or to take an aerobics class with colleagues. There is definitely a strong connection between socialization and physical activity. Socialization is the process in which a person learns the behaviors and values of his culture. Some benefits are listed below:

  • Avoiding drug abuse
  • Avoiding smoking
  • Better nutrition
  • Empathy
  • Improved self-esteem
  • Leadership

Aerobics Class
exercise

One study conducted by the University of Michigan suggested that children who participated in team sports learned to be more empathetic towards others. Furthermore, there was a direct correlation between the students who exercised the most and both leadership skills and empathetic behavior. Most surprisingly, perhaps, is the fact that these same children tended to treat themselves better and adopted healthy lifelong habits.

Another study conducted by the University of Minnesota found that not only did physically active adults spend more time with other people and have more friends, but they also experienced better mental health. Many scientists feel there is a strong three-tiered connection between these factors:

  • Mental health
  • Physical activity
  • Socialization
    • Socialization helps to reduce deadly stress
    • Socialization helps to avoid isolation, and being lonely may reduce longevity

However, it is very difficult to prove cause and effect. In other words, which came first, the chicken or the egg? One thing is clear. Many children, adults, and seniors do not like to exercise alone. Community exercise programs fill this need by providing a combination of exercise and socialization that may be more appealing.

Co-Ed Sports

Today millions of women and men enjoy participating in physical fitness and remaining active. However, it is fairly clear that certain sports lend themselves more to socialization than others. Sports physiologists recommend the following sports as being some of the best for interacting with others:

  • Bowling
  • Cycling
  • Golf
  • Road races
  • Softball

Who has not had a good time on a Saturday evening at the local lanes? Bowling provides a great social environment which also includes food and drink. There is plenty of down time between shots, and often the bowling center also provides pool tables, video games, and other such forms of social entertainment.

Remember when we were kids, and we gathered in groups on our bicycles and roamed the neighborhoods together? As adults, there are now plenty of cycling clubs that offer the same sort of camaraderie. The rides are even assigned a letter rating according to their difficulty. This is so cyclists of equal ability can enjoy their rides together and still be able to talk without being too winded.

Golf is usually played as a foursome, and this provides for several hours of social interaction. After the round, the day continues at the 'nineteenth hole,' which is a nickname for the golf course's bar and grill.

Road races have increased rapidly in popularity over the last 30 years or so. There are many races of varying length most weekends of the year. Runners of like ability tend to run together and talk. After many races, there are live bands and 'pasta parties' where the runners replace lost carbohydrates and socialize.

Softball teams playing under the lights are a common sight, especially in the summer and autumn. The slow pace of the game and down time, like bowling, provides for ample socialization. Also, unlike baseball, a slow-pitch softball game does not involve a ball traveling at a high rate of speed toward the batter's head, so less focus and concentration are required.

Softball
sport

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