“Active students report higher mental and personal wellbeing, reduced perceptions of loneliness, and stronger perceptions of inclusion, employability, and attainment compared to inactive or fairly active students.”


Or to put it another way, getting active can help students to do more than just burn a few extra calories. 


Regular exercise and an active lifestyle is a key contributor to health and happiness for everybody in society. 


But in the pressure-cooker atmosphere of university, where young people are forced to deal with so many new experiences, anything that can give students an advantage is a bonus. 


Unsurprisingly, stats back up the logic, with the British Active Students Survey (BASS) returning a whole host of headline findings which suggests the more exercise students incorporate into their schedules, the happier and more successful they will become. 


What did BASS find? 


In surveys completed at the end of 2018, BASS found that students who led active lifestyles – classed as 150 minutes or more of moderate activity per week – reported greater personal and mental wellbeing, greater feelings of social inclusion with less loneliness, higher perceptions of attainment and a more positive outlook on their future employability.


However, the problems the country faces leveraging this to create a happier and more successful student system are revealed by the survey, also.


Over two thirds (70.8%) of the respondents were not completing 150 minutes of moderate activity per week (‘active’), with one quarter (25.5%) inactive (completing under 30 minutes per week).


Obviously, these figures are well south of where they should be. 


27.9% of respondents said that the biggest barrier to an active lifestyle is being too busy with studies, followed by a saddening 10.5% citing body confidence, and a further 9.6% financial constraints. 


A clear indicator of the need for greater education on this issue comes in the findings for why those who are active choose to do so.


The top two reasons given are benefits to physical health (16.1%) and body image (12.8%). 


While the survey reveals the whole host of mental health positives active lifestyles offer students, the responses of students indicates that playing sports for these reasons isn’t a major consideration.


Why does this matter?


Being a student can be extremely stressful. 


You’re thrown into a crucible of pressure and responsibility the like of which most 18 and 19-year-olds won’t have seen before. And at the same time, your performance can determine the course of the rest of your life. 


Any advantage that can help university to be a success should be taken. And living a healthy lifestyle provides exactly that. 


Here at Orfi Active, we’re much more than just an app. We have a mission to get more people active, and to spread the benefits of sport and fitness. 


As we are, we’re taking this opportunity to speak to students about how we can help to get them active. 


BASS’ findings show exactly why we think this is a good cause.


“This survey has indicated a clear association between physical activity levels and the type of activity with improvements in overall wellbeing and the perceptions students have of their current skills and their future abilities.” 


The evidence is conclusive. Now it’s time for action.


Andy Donley

Andy is the resident wordsmith at Orfi Active, coming off a career in sports journalism and writing that has seen him cover the Rio Olympics for BBC Sport and write on cricket, football and rugby for some of the country’s most well-known publications.

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Posted on

January 29, 2020

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