Research supports the joy and benefits experienced personally through physical activity in intramurals. The major focus is to have fun, but as research shows, good intramural programs also develop physical fitness, enhance positive competition, develop positive character, and give opportunity for leadership building. Fun physical activity decreases anxiety and depression and enhances participants’ feelings of well-being. Research also shows that those involved in physical activity tend to come to class ready to learn, have improved concentration, and have improved overall academic performance. Thus, offering organized wild and wacky games can enhance students’ experiences of fun, while also providing a variety of physical, social, and emotional benefits.
Often today, competition is considered a dirty word. However, developing healthy, safe, and fun competition for all can strengthen a program. Sometimes taking the edge off a too-competitive basketball game can be as simple as replacing the ball with a rubber chicken. Research shows that good character can be developed through programs that de-emphasize winning and provide positive leadership about fair play.
Leadership opportunities abound in intramural programs and are fabulous opportunities to enhance these skills. Intramural programs provide great opportunities for our students to be creative, and to become directly involved in developing activities that they want to enjoy. Instead of developing lists or rules for recess behavior, let the students get involved in developing fun games for students that they want to play.