While individuals experience the benefits of physical activity, sports and physical education most immediately, it can also play a major role in strengthening communities by bringing people together, building social capital and fostering greater inclusion of excluded groups.
That’s because physical activity in all forms — community or school-based, recreational or competitive, structured or not, for fun or for personal excellence — at its best:
- Unites individuals, families, neighbourhoods and communities together as players, volunteers, spectators and advocates
- Connects people across geographic, economic, ethno-cultural and other boundaries
- Provides positive role models – from coaches to elite athletes
- Teaches sports, leadership and life skills that improve self-esteem and interpersonal skills
- Connects vulnerable people and groups with networks, information, and services
- Encourages active citizenship for people of all ages, fosters trust, reciprocity, and a sense of security and belonging among community members
These are but a few examples of the underestimated comprehensive benefits of physical activity, sports and physical education. The spectrum of benefits to an individual and economy are synthesized in the Human Capital model which was initiated by Nike Inc. through a multidisciplinary input and validation process with a pool of experts. Informed by more than 500 pieces of published research, the model consists of “capitals”. Each capital refers to a set of outcomes that underpin our well-being and success.
Read more on Physical Activity as an Investment in Personal and Social Change (The Human Capital Model).