New Study Hopes to Help People Find the Physical Activity That Best Fits Them
By Ken Reed
Today, more than two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. We love our sports in this country but most of us prefer to watch rather than participate.
As a country, we need to become more physically active, not only to improve our physical health but our mental and emotional health as well.
League of Fans has long pushed “sports for all” initiatives and more cardiovascular-based physical education in our schools. It’s important to get Americans participating not only in team and individual sports but a variety of other physical activities. It’s one of our top objectives.
As such, I was intrigued when I came across a new, in-progress study that is designed to help people determine which sports and other physical activities might be the most engaging and enjoyable for them based on the relative characteristics of various physical activities.
To make the study’s findings more robust, the study’s lead investigators are looking for more people to participate in the study by taking a short (usually five minutes or less) survey. They need your help.
Here’s a short introduction to the study, followed by a link that will take you to the page that will allow you to take part in the survey:
There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of distinct physical activities. When looking for something physical to do, a person could choose an American classic like baseball, or a less famous sport like lacrosse.
One problem is that very few people have the time to experiment with many different physical activities. Also, people have different priorities when choosing physical activities to participate in. Some people may be particularly averse to injury, whereas others may be less concerned about minor injuries if the activity affords a high degree of creative expression. As far as we are aware, physical activities have not been ranked on a selection of characteristics such as these. Our objective is to change that!
To that end, we devised a survey. So far, data have been collected from students at Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Virginia. Twenty questions ask about the relative characteristics of two physical activities. These data are digested by a statistical program to convert the relative ratings into absolute rankings. You can already explore early results.
So far, most of our data are from college students. However, our plan is to open up the study to people with more diverse experience. A great deal more data is needed, across all demographics, to cover a broader spectrum of physical activities with greater accuracy. You are invited to participate. Most participants finish in fewer than 5 minutes.
This study is being conducted as a public service. Once data collection is complete, anonymized data and data analysis reports will be placed in the public domain. You can expect to eventually see these rankings reflected on sites like Wikipedia.
Here’s the link to the survey.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
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- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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