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Being a 'good sport' can be critical to maintaining lifelong physical activity
Date:11/24/2010

Toronto, ON November 24 It's never fun riding the bench but could it also make you less likely to be physically active in the future?

That's one of the questions being explored by Mark Eys, an associate professor of kinesiology and physical education at Wilfrid Laurier University and the Canada Research Chair in Group Dynamics and Physical Activity. Eys is presenting his work as part of this week's Canada Research Chairs conference in Toronto.

Eys, who also teaches out of the university's psychology department, is studying group cohesion which, in sporting terms, is essentially that sense of camaraderie that often develops between teammates and how it affects the willingness of teenagers to take part in physical activity long-term.

It's an important connection to study, he says, since it's much more common for people to work out in groups than on their own.

"People playing sports, for instance, are usually part of a group. If they're playing golf, they're in a group. They're often going for runs in a group," says Eys.

"If we understand how those groups work, and take advantage of those situations, we can facilitate physical activity."

For the past two years, Eys and his team of graduate students have been observing teens aged 13-17 in the Sudbury area, tracking them as they take part in high school sports, rec leagues, and non-structured group activities like running and jogging.

Once a year, says Eys, they fill out questionnaires that measure how they feel about the level of cohesion in their groups. The teens taking part in highly-structured sports, particularly at the high school level, are asked specifically about their teams' focus how it strikes a balance between self-improvement and winning.

While they're still analyzing the first two years of data, Eys points out that, so far, they've found "a really strong relationship between that motivational climate and perceptions of coh
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Contact: Ryan Saxby Hill
media@fedcan.ca
613-894-7635
Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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