Social Factors Affecting Physical Activity

Social Factors

Social factors can be behavioral, psychological, social, personal, and/or environmental. The following are examples of social factors:

  • Motivation (Intrinsic/Extrinsic)
  • Competition
  • Reputation
  • Excitement
  • Accountability
  • Social Support
  • Networking
  • Income/Employment
  • Gender
  • Race

How Social Factors Affect Individual Sports

Intrinsic motivation is what drives athletes and competitors in individualistic sports. Your motivation comes within yourself because YOU want to win or better yourself. You don't have the social support or teammates cheering you on, or being in your ear right before the competition starts. Every competitor is there because they personally want to better themselves and drive themselves to victory. You may hold a reputation in your sport and the only way you can lose or keep that status is by how YOU compete. The only intimidation that may affect you is how you perceive individuals' reputation and not a collective group. No group stigmas, No team reputation, No team support. It's just you and how you choose to perform. 

How Social Factors Affect Individual Activities

Individual activities play witness to an increase in mobility, physical strength and strength of character, and ultimately, happiness. Instead of living a secluded and dark life, these people that take the step to move forward suddenly begin building social networks and increasing what was originally their fledgling amount of intrinsic or extrinsic motivation. Not only are these means inexpensive, they're also beneficial to an individual's sense of well-being. All of a sudden, they are in control of their lives! They feel whole again; part of a group. Completing a lesson or a line of tasks gives them something to talk about with their friends that can get the ball rolling for the creation of group activities. Overall, participating in individual activities  is merely the first step in a series of successes. 

How Social Factors Affect Team Sports

When you identify with a team, you are immediately given a group of friends with which you can lean on for social, psychological, and motivational support. As you spend more time with your team you will see an increase is societal connections and a sense of camaraderie gained from associations made with your team. Motivation can be both intrinsic as well as extrinsic. Motivation within yourself... is essential for individual performance. Enhanced individual performance will ultimately lead to a better team performance. Teammates are also vital catalyst for motivation within a team. They can be there to cheer you on, or they can motivate you by giving everything they can for the team. When you see your teammate play hard, you will want to replicate them. Reputation within your team is held together by those that lead. That can come from the captains, coaches, or player in the team. You may be intimidated by a certain individual on a team or by another team as a whole who plays well together or has a superior record. Group stigmas can exist in a team. It can come from a disagreement in players, coaches, or can come from frustration when the team is not performing well together. 

How Social Factors Affect Group Activities

Working out or doing physical activity in a group setting can provide additional benefits. Group dynamics create support among those who work out together, and they help each other to push through until the end. This also helps keep everyone motivated to do his or her best and not give up. Group activities keep healthy competition alive. People compete with each other to finish first or last longer. Participating in different group activities can create a great place for networking and meeting new people. This also helps keep exercising more exciting and fun. Accountability is an important factor, because of the social pressures; working out with groups keeps you more accountable for showing up and exercising. This helps keep you consistent. Lastly, it can reduce the cost because it is spread out among the group.

Examples of Individual Activities

  • Martial Arts
  • Yoga
  • Fencing
  • Weight Lifting

Examples of Individual Sports

  • Track & Field
  • Tennis
  • Golf
  • Cycling
  • Wrestling
  • Gymnastics

Examples of Group Activities

  • Cross Fit
  • Boot Camp
  • Zumba
  • Body Pump
  • Cycling Classes

Examples of Team Sports

  • Baseball
  • Football
  • Basketball
  • Hockey
  • Soccer
  • Lacrosse
  • Rugby

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