The Sociocultural Benefits of Participating in Fitness

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  • 0:00 Physicality & Culture
  • 1:29 Stronger Communities
  • 2:43 Better Health
  • 4:06 Reduction in Healthcare Costs
  • 4:47 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Physical activity offers many benefits. This lesson will focus on the sociocultural benefits of participation in physical activities. We will end with a short quiz to gauge what you have learned.

Physicality & Culture

Have you ever played on an athletic team? If so, think about your experiences on that team for a moment. Who else was on the team? Did they live near you or attend the same school? What sport did the team play?

These questions provide a glimpse into some important sociocultural aspects of a team. The term sociocultural refers to both the societal and cultural factors related to a behavior. These factors can tell us a lot about people and the ways in which they behave.

Participation in physical activity follows trends throughout society and within various cultures. For example, American football is very different from European and Latin American football, so different in fact that Americans call their counterparts' sport 'soccer.' This is an example of a sociocultural difference in physical activity because the participation is different based on where the person lives.

It's important to note that other sociocultural factors can influence physical activity. For example, people of lower income are less likely to engage in physical activity, as are racial minorities. Gender can account for different levels of physical activity, and age is often a factor as well, with young people being more involved in physical activity than older people.

Now that we understand what the sociocultural aspects of physical activity are and some factors that influence it, let's take a closer look at the sociocultural benefits of participating in physical activity.

Stronger Communities

Most of us know that physical activity is good for our bodies and our health. But have you ever considered the sociocultural benefits of physical activity? Think about your experiences playing a sport on a team again for a moment. Was it fun? Were your teammates also your friends? Did you work together to achieve a common goal? These questions provide clues about some of the sociocultural benefits of participating in physical activity. These benefits include social inclusion, stronger communities, and reduced healthcare costs.

Participating in physical activities can contribute to feelings of self-esteem and belonging. Let's say that you're a runner. Even if you usually run alone, you belong to a large community of runners with a common interest. This camaraderie, or sense of belonging, creates feelings of social inclusion. The social inclusion created by participating in physical activity can help to unite people, families, and communities. This happens regardless of income, age, culture, or ability. We discussed football earlier in the lesson. No matter which version of the sport is played, participants and spectators rally together to support their team. This exemplifies the sociocultural benefit of social inclusion.

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