TUESDAY, August 2, 2022 (HealthDay News) — A trait called “courage” can help a person achieve their long-term goals, some experts say.
And playing sports as a child — or even as an adult — can help a person gain that passion and stamina, according to a new study that found adults who played sports as children performed better on a measure of grit than Adults who never played or said this left.
“Kids who play sports learn what it’s like to fight as they learn new skills, overcome challenges, and recover from failure by trying again,” said lead author Emily Nothnagle, who conducted the research as a sociology student at Ohio State University carried out on Columbus. “The courage they develop through exercise can help them for the rest of their lives.”
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For the study, she and her team used data from the National Sports and Society Survey. It included nearly 4,000 adults nationwide.
To measure grit, participants were asked to rate themselves based on eight statements. These included: “I am hardworking. I never give up” and “I’m a hard worker.”
About 34% of those who played youth sports scored high on the five-point scale, compared to 23% of those who did not play sports. And 25% of those who had never played a sport scored low on the grit scale, compared to 17% of ex-gamers.
But developing courage takes perseverance: kids need to stick with their sport to reap the benefits, researchers said.
“Adults who participated in youth sports but dropped out did not show higher levels of grit,” study co-author Chris Knoester, associate professor of sociology at Ohio State, said of the importance of exercise in the development of grit during adolescence. “
This proxy measurement was based on respondents’ perceptions of how their athletic experience affects their work ethic, according to researchers, who said quitting might reflect a lack of endurance. It might also be easier to quit next time.
Even accounting for this finding, exercise increased grit scores.
“Exercise seems to have improved grit development in people even more than they thought,” Nothnagle said.
What the study failed to determine is whether people who excel in sports and benefit from grit as adults were actually born with the trait.
The results suggest that people can gain or lose courage over the course of their lives.
For example, adults who reported regular exercise over the past year showed higher levels of grit. This was true regardless of whether or not they played sports as children. It was not clear which sports adults participated in and whether these were individual or organized.
“This additional insight into adult physical activity suggests that you can build and potentially lose courage at various points in your life,” Knoester said. “It’s not a static quality.”
Grit is not without its downsides, such as causing some people to overtrain and injure themselves, Nothnagle said.
“Sport provides that valuable place in society where you can work hard and practice and take it seriously, but it’s also not real life to some extent – usually sports are seen as a separate area of life and the stakes in sports are not far-reaching and extreme,” said Knoester.
“But you can use the lessons you learn and practice in sports, such as B. building sand, apply in a very useful way in your life outside of sport,” he added.
The results were recently published in the journal leisure sciences.
Health.gov has more on the benefits of youth sports.
SOURCE: Ohio State University, press release, July 27, 2022