The benefits of activity…and how you can get more active

Research shows that active students are healthier, happier and more likely to succeed. So, what can you do to play more sport…even if you don’t like sport?

The benefits of activity

In 2018, the British Active Students Survey published results from a survey of 6,891 university students. The results concluded that active students are healthier, happier and more likely to succeed if they are participate in physical activity.

Furthermore, regular physical activity and sports will improve your confidence and feeling of social inclusion.

The survey regarded physical activity as participating in gym membership and sport activities. This included mainstream sports like football or rugby, but also less mainstream ones such as ultimate Frisbee or quidditch. We’ll explore different non-sporting physical activities in a later blog.

The survey also measured physical activity as defined by the UK’s Chief Medical Officers’ recommendations.

Adults should do:
at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling or brisk walking every week AND
strength exercises on 2 or more days a week that work all the major muscles

NHS and chief Medical Officers

Activity breeds confidence

The research suggests that taking up fitness and sport is a big step towards boosting your overall self-esteem and confidence.

65% of active students were more confident of finding a job within six months of graduating, whereas for non-active students it was 53%.

95% of active students had high grade expectations in comparison to 84% for non-active students.

Active students also rated themselves higher for teamwork, analysis, communication and drive – the kind of skills naturally developed by playing sport.

Of course, going to the gym or playing sports doesn’t guarantee high grades and dream jobs. However, the confidence and wellbeing gained from physical activity can put you in a better mindset to help you achieve success.


The survey found that active students scored more highly for feeling worthwhile, life satisfaction and happiness. Whereas, non-active students scored more highly for anxiety.

Social isolation

The survey’s results were particularly striking with social isolation. Non-active students were twice as likely to feel left out, unknown or isolated. It’s perhaps unsurprising when going to the gym or playing sports can be social activities that forge bonds and camaraderie.

So what’s stopping students?

According to the survey, students felt the biggest barrier to activity was time needed for studying. Expenses and other social activities were also factors. However, the survey found that active students spent more time studying than inactive students.

Body confidence and a perception of not feeling welcome were also frequently reported barriers for females respondents.

A yoga class at the University of Stirling Sports Centre

How to play more sport at Stirling?

The survey highlights the importance of leading an active lifestyle and the University offers all kinds of facilities, sports clubs and classes to get active and play sports.

You can take-up cheap gym and sport membership for the University sports centre.

The Intramural Sport programme gives you the chance to participate in weekly leagues or one off tournaments, against other teams within the University. It’s about getting fit, having fun and getting involved as many of the intramural events are student-led.

Just Play Sport are drop-in sessions for students and staff who want to play sport on a more casual basis.

And if you’re not sporty?

Let’s face it, competitive sport is not for everyone and not all of us feel comfortable in a gym environment.

So, what you can do?

From trampolining to frisbee and archery, the University has a wide range of sports clubs that could appeal to all kinds of different tastes.

The University’s sport membership gives you access to plenty of classes and leisure activities. Activities like aquacise, yoga and spin cycle are non-competitive and they welcome all levels and newbies.

If you want to try other non-competitive activities, the Get Active programme includes Zumba and swimming.

If you need support and help why not try Get Active Buddies? They can can help you get into sport or exercise.

There are also plenty of social and cultural clubs and societies that you can try out to meet new people and try new things.

If none of that appeals, then try walking and hiking. The campus and surrounding countryside has a number of trails and routes. Hermitage Woods offers a network of paths that will enable you to gain all the benefits of walking.

What next?

Find out more about the benefits of walking and look out for more information on physical activity.

About the survey

The survey built on research conducted by the ukactive Research Institute and Scottish Student Sport which highlighted the important role of physical activity in a university student’s life.

You can download the full survey and have a quick look at its key findings.

Theme by the University of Stirling