Physical exercise can help improve both physical and mental health

Written on |

Participating in online sports programs during the COVID-19 pandemic improves adolescents’ psychological resilience

Researchers at Tel Aviv University have examined the connection between adolescents’ mental resilience and their participation in sports programs during the coronavirus pandemic. The researchers found that adolescents who continued to work out in a group context during the lockdown were more mentally resilient than their peers – even though the practice sessions were conducted online. The study – the only one of its kind in the world to focus on adolescents – was conducted by Dr. Keren Constantini, Irit Marcus, Dr. Naomi Apple, Dr. Ronit Jakobovitch, Dr. Iftach Gafner and Dr. Shahar Lev-Ari, and its results were presented at a joint conference of the Schools of Public Health Organization, the Israel Association of Public Health Physicians and the Sports Physicians Association.

“We conducted the study during the general lockdown,” says Dr. Lev-Ari, Head of the Department of Health Promotion at Tel Aviv University. “Some organizations and gyms had suspended their sports programs, but others – like the educational sports organization Chamesh Etzbaot (Five Fingers), adopted an online format, mostly through Zoom. We were interested in checking whether online activities helped build adolescents’ physical and mental resilience. To do this we compared two groups: adolescents who continued to practice in an online group context, and their peers who exercised on their own during the lockdown.”

For this purpose, Dr. Lev-Ari and his team conducted an online survey designed to test resilience levels, health behaviors and risk perceptions of 473 adolescents who had been enrolled in organized sports programs before the coronavirus outbreak. Their findings were statistically significant: Adolescents who continued to participate in sports programs through an online format during the lockdown actually practiced more, and consequently exhibited higher levels of resilience, had better self-esteem and higher morale, and expressed fewer concerns about the pandemic.

“We found that adolescents who continued to take part in their sports programs through the internet practiced more – 242 minutes of practice per week vs. only 191 minutes for adolescents who worked out on their own,” explains Dr. Lev-Ari. “But this only accounts for the physical resilience. In addition, there is the aspect of mental resilience: a person’s ability to cope with difficulties, burdens and stress. This has to do with an element of personal endurance that stems from personality, as well as various acquired elements – like the size of the ‘battery’ I have for withstanding pressure, and how quickly I can recharge it.”

To test the adolescents’ mental resilience, the researchers compared the results of those who practiced in an online group with the results of those who continued to work out on their own during the lockdown, based on validated questionnaires such as the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale.  These questionnaires include statements like “I tend to bounce back easily from illness or difficulty”, “I don’t despair easily when I fail” and “I see the amusing side of things” – with each respondent ranking how true the statement is for him/her on the given scale.

“The results were unequivocal, in all measures,” says Dr. Lev-Ari. “The adolescents who continued their sports program exhibited higher spirits, less anxiety about themselves and their families, and  lower levels of stress – even though their practice sessions continued through Zoom. Moreover, these adolescents were more aware of the importance of organized sports, especially at this time. 84% of the adolescents who participated in sports said that the continued practice sessions helped them cope with negative feelings and low spirits during the lockdown; 55% indicated that their contact with the coach served as a meaningful source of support. Our study proves the importance of continued activities in organized sports programs in these challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic, and similar conclusions can certainly be deduced with regard to other social organizations as well, such as youth movements.”   

Related posts

Want to Live Longer? Find Out if You Snore

May 15, 2022

TAU Researchers Invent Healthy Weapon Against Covid

April 14, 2022

Is the Vaccine Safe? Consult the Smart Sensor!

April 11, 2022

TAU Nanodrug Enables 2-in-1 Attack on Cancer

April 5, 2022

Minor Head Injury Leads to Chronic Post-Concussion Syndrome in 1 of 4 Children

March 28, 2022

Inventive Study to Develop Biological Solutions for Agriculture

March 27, 2022

TAU Technology Could Prevent Repeat Heart Valve Surgery

March 24, 2022

Israeli Breakthrough in Treating PTSD

February 22, 2022

Can Higher Temperatures Accelerate the Rate of Evolution?

February 16, 2022

Discovery May Enable Early Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s

February 15, 2022

TAU Breakthrough Offers New Hope to Help People With Paralysis Walk Again

February 3, 2022

Ketogenic Diet Likely to Reduce Damage from Traumatic Brain Injuries

January 25, 2022

Reading Tea Leaves

January 25, 2022

Viruses and Game Theory

January 24, 2022

What’s The Link Between Electrical Voltage and Brain Adaptability?

January 23, 2022

As Pandemic Persists, TAU Forges Ahead with COVID-19 Research on All Fronts

December 30, 2021

Rising Temperatures Fuel Increase in Violence: TAU Study

December 26, 2021

Medicinal Cannabis Oil Effective for Treating Autism

December 22, 2021

Parent Smartphone Use Could Harm Child Development

December 19, 2021

Breakthrough TAU Discovery Key to Reversing ALS

December 16, 2021

Experimental Drug Displays Effectiveness in Treating Symptoms of Autism and Alzheimer’s Disease

December 15, 2021

Seaweed – A Promising Defense Against Covid-19

December 15, 2021

New Ethical Code for World Research of Ancient DNA

December 14, 2021

Saving Lives with Artificial Intelligence

December 9, 2021

TAU Experts on Omicron: “Don’t Panic”

December 7, 2021

Tired of The Lies?

November 23, 2021

Britain and Israel Team Up on Challenge of Healthy Ageing

November 10, 2021

TAU Researchers Identify COVID Proteins that Cause Strokes and Heart Attacks

November 8, 2021

Can’t Multitask Anymore?

October 6, 2021

Why Do We Squabble Over The AC?

October 5, 2021

The Immune System’s Double Agents

October 5, 2021

Help A Friend Out?

September 30, 2021

Using ‘Good’ Bacteria to Fight ‘Bad’ Bacteria

September 29, 2021

Recruiting ‘Fighting Cells’ to Destroy Tumors

September 14, 2021

TAU Team Reverses Early Signs of Alzheimer’s

September 10, 2021

Nicotine Testing of Children Curbs Parents’ Smoking

September 5, 2021

Want to Fall in Love? Step Outside in The Sun

August 31, 2021

The Silent Prophets

August 31, 2021

First 3D-bioprinting of entire active tumor

August 18, 2021

New Warning Sign for Breast Cancer

August 6, 2021

COVID-19 Immunity Varies Among Genders and Age Groups

July 26, 2021

Tel Aviv Bats Have More Fun

July 22, 2021

New study found differences between women and men in the level of COVID-19 antibodies

July 15, 2021

A world first: Technology that restores the sense of touch in nerves damaged as a result of amputation or injury

July 15, 2021

TAU Medical Student to Swim for Israel at Summer Olympics

July 15, 2021

New nanotech from TAU produces “healthy” electric current from the human body itself

July 9, 2021

Introducing the world’s thinnest technology – only two atoms thick

July 2, 2021

Want to Live a Long Life? Consider Investing in Your Marriage.

July 2, 2021

A world first: Targeted delivery of therapeutic RNAs only to cancer cells, with no harm caused to healthy cells

June 30, 2021

Combating Antibiotic Resistance

June 22, 2021

Pursuing the Unknown

Copyright ©  Tel Aviv University Trust. All rights reserved.
Registered charity number 314179.