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Tuesday, May 28
The Indiana Daily Student


OPINION: Intramural sports build foundations for success


When I started as a freshman at Indiana University this semester, I knew I wanted to join IU’s Ultimate Frisbee team, the HoosierMama?s. I began practicing with the team within a few weeks and knew immediately I had found the right fit for me. These past months on the team have been beneficial for my mental health and made me a more confident athlete. I also gained a tight group of great friends right away. Joining intramural sports is one of the best ways to find a community on campus.  

One of the benefits of being at a large university like IU is there are plenty of options for intramural activities to participate in. You can get involved in traditional sports like basketball, soccer and volleyball. Or you can pursue more unconventional sports such as cornhole, badminton and Spikeball, among many others. We’re also lucky to have other organizations offering community sports in Bloomington, such as the YMCA and Twin Lakes Rec Center. 

Like many freshmen, I was worried about the transition from high school to college. I knew it would be difficult and stress could cause me to experience mental health challenges. But, because of my participation in Ultimate Frisbee, I have had way more ups than downs.  

My own experience is backed up by research.  

“Exercise positively impacts levels of serotonin, a chemical that helps regulate mental health, and stimulates the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, which improves mood,” according to a Newport Academy article. 

My mood is not the only thing improved by playing an intramural sport. My physical health has been positively impacted, too. In addition to throwing the frisbee almost every day, being part of the team has compelled me to go to the gym more often. I know by working hard off the field, I’ll see more success on the field. And these healthy habits will continue into other parts of my life. 

However, my favorite reason for joining Ultimate Frisbee is the comradery of being on a team. I didn’t know most of my teammates before joining, but after a short amount of time, I have a supportive group of friends both on and off the field. It turns out, building community through an intramural sport is part of why it is helpful for our well-being.  

While direct participation in sports improves mental and physical health, working with a group of people who share a common goal is just as important.  

“Team sports are a fun way to get in your exercise for cardiovascular health because you get to do it in a group as opposed to doing it alone, plus it’s a great stress reliever, which helps lower your risk for heart disease,” Helga Ven Herle, an MD at Keck Medicine of USC said.  

Life gets busy. There is school, work and family obligations to manage. But if you can make the time and have the energy, intramural sports are an excellent way to build relationships and improve your overall health. To find ways to get involved, you can visit IU’s Intramural Sports webpage. 


Jack Davis (he/him) is a freshman studying journalism.

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