Into the Blue
New research has found that students who take part in sport enjoy better mental health and wellbeing.
Last term, the University’s Sports Service published the Sport and Academic Performance Report, the first investigation looking into the academic outcomes of sporting students at Cambridge, developed under the auspices of the University’s Strategy for Sport 2017-2022.
The research considered the Tripos results of more than 4,000 undergraduate students who had represented the University in their sport and achieved a Blue, Half-Blue or Club Colours (from 2005 to 2016). So what did they find? On average, undergraduate sportspeople achieve more firsts and upper second class results, and fewer lower second and third class results, than undergraduates in the University as a whole.
The report also profiled a number of sportspeople who had recently left the University to find out more about the impact they felt sport had had on their time at Cambridge. This research found that, for many students, sport and physical activity provides an effective release from academic studies, improves mental health, and gives them the opportunity to develop valuable social and support networks. It can also help students to develop valuable transferable skills such as time management, focus, the ability to perform under pressure, leadership and communication.
In fact, Professor Graham Virgo, Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor, says that there is a growing focus on student mental health and wellbeing nationally and within the Collegiate University. “Participation in sport and other extracurricular activities has an important role in ensuring that students’ educational experiences at Cambridge are as good as they can be,” he says. “This is why the Collegiate University’s Student Support Initiative, which seeks to raise at least half a billion pounds for the support of students at Cambridge, has identified participation in sport as a key component of the campaign.”