Why Sport Can Be the Vehicle for Change

Published 05/11/2019

The power of sport in the lives of young people is never to be underestimated.

Aside from the in-the-moment fun to be had when playing sport, the positive impact of regularly engaging in sporting activities has been strongly linked to both the physical and mental wellbeing of individuals, as well as having a profound effect on the wider community.

By encouraging young people to be involved in sports and leading fitness activities and team games, you can have a huge impact on the healthy minds and bodies of the Fijian children, perhaps for reasons you hadn’t previously considered.

Oh, and did we mention, you’ll have such an incredible time in doing so!

Here, we discuss some of the big hitters, where sport can make a positive impact. ⚽🏉🏐

1. Physical Health

There are of course obvious short-term benefits of sport, such as maintaining a healthy body weight, however, in the long term, exercise may have a more crucial role to play in our health than you might assume. Regular physical activity has been linked to reducing the risk of many health related illnesses including cardiovascular disease, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancers.

The protective effect of physical exercise on health in later life may prove particularly beneficial to remote villages in Fiji, where healthcare is not readily available.

You may find that by encouraging an active, healthy lifestyle through sport, you help reverse some of the current healthcare problems in these rural communities.

2. Mental Health

Regularly engaging in sporting activities has been strongly linked to positively impacting our mental health.

Whether children are participating in team or individual games, their involvement can increase feelings of well-being, self-esteem and self-awareness. In fact, even just spectating sports has been linked positively to the well-being and happiness of individuals.

(check out our new mental health placements in the Fiji Islands).

3. Life skills

Engaging in sports at a young age, allows those involved to develop important skills transferable to other aspects of their lives and their futures. The necessity for co-operation, particularly during team sports, may for example transfer to the classroom whereby, a pupil who understands how to co-operate and be a team player is less likely to display disruptive behaviours and more likely to engage in their education.

Similarly, through sporting activities, young people can develop their leadership skills, which can boost their confidence and set them at an advantage when it comes to searching for later employment.

4. Ambition and Drive

Did you know, regularly engaging in physical exercise has been linked to improved brain power and attainment in schools? Why? Fitness can increase energy levels, encourage greater discipline, and lower disruption.

Sports participation also helps encourage discipline and working towards a goal – something that is useful in all walks of life.

5. Wider Community

Sport undoubtedly has the ability to bring people and communities together. Some of the most memorable moments are often sporting achievements. It gives people a shared interest and can provide them with positive role models and a sense of local pride.

As previously mentioned, even spectating has been linked positively to the wellbeing and happiness of individuals so the older generations in a Fijian village may well benefit too. Encouraging engagement in sports can bring the wider community together.

6. Friendships

Whether you are leading young people to participate in team or individual sports, you are providing them with a safe environment to meet and engage with other people. Sport can encourage a feeling of belonging and in fact, research has found that individuals with good social networks usually live longer!

Learn More with Think Pacific

If you are feeling empowered to use sport as a positive vehicle for change in the lives of the young (and old!) people in Fiji, or would simply like some more details on what might be involved, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team at Think Pacific today.

And, remember, by becoming involved in delivering sports to young people, all of the above benefits, can too be felt by you!

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