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

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

The Silent Prophets

August 31, 2021

Want to Fall in Love? Step Outside in The Sun

August 30, 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 25, 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

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

July 9, 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

Diamonds in the Rough

June 3, 2021

How Will We Brave the Post-COVID Era?

May 31, 2021

Are We Getting to the Root of Cancer?

May 3, 2021

Optical Technology Generates Immediate Melanoma Diagnosis

April 27, 2021

Gut Healing

April 25, 2021

Could Your Smartphone Be Damaging Your Teeth?

April 4, 2021

The Quest for A Lifesaving Cure

March 16, 2021

A Healthier Alternative to Antibiotics

February 24, 2021

Children with Autism during Lockdown: Serious Implications for Behavior and Development

February 22, 2021

Cancer Breakthrough: Cells’ Uniqueness is Also Weakness

January 29, 2021

TAU Scientists Develop Innovative Therapy to Prevent Deafness

December 28, 2020

Two TAU Professors Win 2020 Nature Mentoring Award

December 28, 2020

Lack of Teacher Support during Pandemic Causes Acute Emotional Harm

December 4, 2020

New Discovery: Development of the Inner Ear in Embryos is Similar to Crystal Formation

November 26, 2020

In First, Aging Stopped in Humans: TAU Co-Study

November 23, 2020

TAU developed genome editing system destroys cancer cells

November 20, 2020

TAU Co-Study: “Green Revolution” Decreased Infant Mortality

November 17, 2020

Study: Women Suffer More from COVID-related Orofacial Pain

November 12, 2020

Global First: Center for Combating Pandemics

October 22, 2020

TAU Researchers Discover Antibody Combo that Fights COVID-19

October 12, 2020

Researchers Identified the Genetic Causes of Inherited Hearing Loss in the Jewish Population of Israel

September 30, 2020

Targeting Melanoma

September 9, 2020

TAU Inaugurates Shmunis School of Biomedicine and Cancer Research

September 8, 2020

New school for Biomedicine and Cancer Research at Tel Aviv University

August 13, 2020

An Experimental Drug for Alzheimer’s May Help Children with Autism

August 5, 2020

TAU Study: Stimulating Immune System Prevents Post-Surgery Metastasis

July 27, 2020

TAU Researcher Fights Epidemics Both Viral and Virtual

July 23, 2020

TAU study: Oxygen therapy improves cognitive function in seniors

July 16, 2020

TAU-led Team Destroys Cancer Cells with Ultrasound

July 9, 2020

New nanomedicines for mRNA therapeutics in breast cancer and heart failure

July 6, 2020

3D printed heart used to test life-saving drugs

June 29, 2020

Did climate change cause infections 6,000 years ago?

May 21, 2020

Accurate 3D imaging could significantly improve IVF treatments

May 18, 2020

TAU study finds widespread misinterpretation of gene expression data

December 26, 2019

Fibroblasts involved in healing spur tumor growth in cancer

December 23, 2019

Eating in sync with biological clock could replace diabetes treatment

December 15, 2019
Ontario and Western Canada

3130 Bathurst Street, Suite, 214, Toronto, ON | M6A 2A1 
Phone: 416.787.9930 | Toll Free: 833.32.CFTAU (22328)
Email: toronto@cftau.ca

Ottawa, Quebec and Atlantic Canada

6900 Boulevard Décarie, Suite 3480, Montreal, QC | H3X 2T8
Phone: 514.344.3417
Email: montreal@cftau.ca


© CFTAU  | all rights reserved
Charitable registration: 124035643RR0001

TO TOP