Recreation and Sport Studies

Studying, Experiencing and Facilitating Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport through Wellness and Physical Activity


Wellness & Mental Health

Wellness remains a term (concept) that means different things to different groups people.

The World Health Organization defines wellness as:

…an optimal state of health. It concerns a person’s individual health physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually and also their role in society and fulfilling expectations in their family, community, place of worship, workplace and environment.

RSS students are cognizant of the relationship between wellness and recreation and sport and well-positioned to critically analyze the value they bring to any holistic view of wellness.

In class we asked: where does this holistic view of wellness enter into current discussion of mental health?

The benefits of recreation and sport on mental health are numerous:

 anxiety and depression



confidence / self-esteem


better sleep

Studies have demonstrated that youth that participate in sport and physical activity translate into mentally healthier populations as they age.

Awareness of mental health issues has never been greater.

Stigmas associated with mental health are diminishing.

As RSS students about to graduate, where/how do you see the relationship between recreation and sport and mental health progressing?

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KIN 6300 – A Discussion on a Discussion Paper! Towards a National Recreation Agenda

So this is my first ever blog. Buckle up kiddos, here we go!

The topic of discussion is coincidently a discussion paper. Towards a National Recreation Agenda: Working Together to Foster, Healthy Flourishing, and Sustainable Individuals, Communities and EnvironmentA bit of a mouthful, but don’t let that intimidate you – it’s definitely a read that anyone and everyone can relate to in one way or another.

Firstly, what is recreation? It’s when you play sports or get sweaty doing something, right? No. As discussed in our Kin 6300 class, recreation has the good or bad rep (depending on how you look at it) of being associated with playing sports or working out. Recreation is a giant umbrella with various activities under it, that don’t always have to be physical. The definition of public recreation in Canada given in the discussion paper states “recreation includes all those activities in which an individual chooses to participate, and includes sports, physical recreation programs, artistic and creative expressions, social and intellectual activities. Recreation is a fundamental human need and right and is essential to the psychological, social and well-being of each Canadian” (National Recreation Agenda Working Group, 2013). Now that I’ve obviously made a connection to every individual in this vast country, feel free to read on.


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As a graduating undergraduate in RSS, an article I would recommend reading is:

Slater, S.J., Nicholson, L., Chriqui, J., Barker, D.C., Chaloupka, F.J., & Johnson, L.D. (2013). Walkable Communities and Adolescent Weight. American Journal of Preventative Medicine, 44(2), 164-168.

As recreation and sport studies professionals, it is our responsibility to provide members of the community with the tools to succeed at living a healthy and active lifestyle. With this being said, you might be wondering what exactly those tools are and if they really make a difference.

The article “Walkable Communities and Adolescent Weight” looks at the built environment and the effects it has on the people who live there. Some of the aspects many of us might take for granted are considered to be powerful indicators of health in many communities, especially areas of low income. These tools are safe sidewalks, traffic lights, marked crosswalks, bike lanes, and walking trails.

The research shows that high school students who live in communities where their ability to walk (instead of drive) is limited, show higher levels of overweight and obesity. The research also shows that the communities with higher levels of walkability, have lower levels of overweight and obesity. This evidence suggests that by including even some of the above-mentioned aspects, such as a walkable sidewalk, the community may benefit.

So… what do you think? How walkable is your neighborhood?

by Molly MacDonald


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Seniors and Physical Activity

As of 2012, about 21% of Canadians were over the age of 60. By 2030, it is projected to rise to 28.5% and by 2050, it will exceed 31%. This means that by mid-century, approximately a third of Canadians will be over the age of 60. In ten years time, there will be over one billion seniors worldwide. Soon seniors will outnumber the amount of children under the age of 15. This is also not solely a First and Second world issue. In over three decades, Africa will be home to 10% of the world’s seniors.

Seniors have much to offer the young of today. They are full of knowledge and wisdom that could transfer to further the development of today’s youth. Therefore we need to ensure that they are properly taken care of for the remainder of their years through physical activity and socialization.

Healthy seniors

Physical activity is key for seniors. Due to their ageing physical bodies, they have a greater likelihood for cardiovascular diseases, as well as arthritis, diabetes, hypertension, osteoporosis and other chronic diseases. Along with the physical deterioration, there are also the issues they face when it comes to mental health. Seniors are at a higher risk for depression, anxiety, and loneliness. With the typical stresses of everyday life, seniors also may lose their ability to live independently because they may suffered from limited mobility, chronic pain, frailty, along with other physical problems. Seniors also experience events such as bereavement, a drop in socioeconomic status with retirement, or a disability. All of these can result in isolation, loss of independence, loneliness and psychological distress.

Socialization is also an important part of keeping seniors healthy and well. Socializing is a good way to ensure that loneliness is “kept at bay”. This also helps to alleviate feelings such as depression and anxiety. Making sure they have a class that they get involved in or making sure they get outside and go for a walk will be key to keeping seniors well.

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Eating Disorders in Sport and Recreation

There are four types of clinically recognized eating disorders: anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder and eating disorder not otherwise specified. Sport is a competitive and body-focused world that can trigger eating disorders in athletes. Eating disorders can be caused by many different things, but common causes are things such as: pre-occupation with weight, belief that lower body weight will improve performance, low self-esteem, family dysfunction, and pressures to be thin.

There are many warning signs and symptoms that can make eating disorders visible. Things such as: chronic injuries, rigidity around food and exercise, training beyond prescribed routine, and training when injured could all be warning signs of an eating disorder in an athlete.

Eating disorders affect the body as a whole. The physiological damage is said to be the worst part of the illness. The physical effects on the body are: electrolyte imbalances, cardiac arrhythmia, low blood pressure, heart failure, osteoporosis, muscle loss, severe dehydration, fainting and fatigue, and dry hair and skin.

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