University students who take part in regular physical activity say they perform better, are more employable and enjoy better mental wellbeing, according to the biggest study of its kind, the British Active Students Survey. This has also been the findings of Sport Brighton's 2018 survey around its Parklife programme. This saw 76% of Parklife participants having a moderate/high mental well-being score compared to 60% of non-participants of the Parklife programme. See our infographic for the key findings of Sport Brighton's survey.
With students in higher education under more pressure than ever to balance studies, finances and social lives, reports of mental health issues are on the rise, particularly feelings of loneliness and isolation. Recent figures from the Office of National Statistics suggest 95 students took their own lives in England and Wales in the 12 months to July last year, leading the Government to introduce an awards system to recognise universities achieving excellence in mental health care.
Now, a joint-report from ukactive, British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS), Precor and Scottish Student Sport (SSS) – called the ‘British Active Students Survey’ – has found that promoting physical activity, including sports participation and gym membership, improves student’s personal wellbeing, mental wellbeing, social inclusion, and perceived academic attainment and employability.
The survey is the biggest of its kind to date, with 6,891 students from 104 Higher Education Institutes across the United Kingdom responding. Just over half of respondents (53%) were meeting the recommended levels of physical activity (150 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity a week), with 7.1% classified as inactive (taking fewer than 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity a week).