Exercise is a method often implemented by health professionals within western civilisation, who aim to combat the increasing number of people suffering from conditions such as heart disease and obesity. I have developed an awareness of the role exercise plays in maintaining the health of the global population, and how its benefits extend not only to physical health, but social and mental health also. Subsequently, I believe that a degree in sports and exercise science will act as a pivotal stepping-stone, and equip me with the knowledge and research skills necessary to positively impact the well-being of individuals within society. Having read ‘Mindful Running’ by M. L. Havey, I now understand how aerobic activities can alter both body and mind. The concepts discussed within the book influenced me when attending the Sutton Trust summer school programme where I was presented with the opportunity to design my own research project. My investigation aimed to explore the potential that running possesses in alleviating symptoms of depression in young adults. I shadowed multiple personal trainers at my local fitness centre, observing as they aided their clients’ progression towards achieving a set of personalised goals. This insight into the workings of the leisure industry improved my communication skills immensely, as I learned to interact with gym-users in a professional manner.
Additionally, it reinforced my enthusiasm for the subject as I witnessed how exercise can enhance quality of life. For instance, a GP referral used abdominal-focused resistance machines to increase their core strength, benefitting her weakened spine. A year earlier, I spent a week at an outdoor activity centre. Here, I participated in a range of tasks including leading groups of children through obstacle courses, and, alongside instructors, guiding them in a number of orienteering exercises. As well as being extremely enjoyable, the experience allowed me to build upon a variety of existing skills such as leadership and teamwork. Physiology, primarily the cardiovascular system, is a topic that I particularly enjoy. I also believe it to be a crucial component of degree-level physiological studies as a result of its influence on every other bodily system. This is something that the documentary series “Anatomy of” places great emphasis upon working to determine what distinguishes an elite athlete from non-athletes. On watching this I was inspired to research further into the realm of elite sporting performance. Live Science articles such as “How do ski jumpers fall huge distances without breaking their legs?” and “The brutal neuroscience of figure skating: how spinning athletes overcome dizziness” came to my attention as they acknowledged the physics within sport, highlighting the broad nature of the discipline. For four years I attended weekly training sessions and competitive fixtures for Bruton Hockey Club. I continue to play badminton, as I have done for the past five years outside of school. My passion for sport is what lead me to seek the attainment of my UKCC Level One Award for Assistant Coaches in Badminton and NPLQ.
The course taught me importance of values such as self-discipline and maintaining a positive attitude even in the most adverse of situations. I feel that it is the unique ability of sport to instil such values and desirable attributes that has given me the confidence to take on positions of responsibility such as Head Girl of Sexey’s sixth form, pushed me to complete NCS and achieve my Bronze DofE. Participation in sporting activities has played a major part in moulding me as an individual. Not only has it been an emotional outlet for all the stresses and anxieties that accompany daily life, but it has also strengthened my love for physical pursuits and proven to be a decisive influence on my future study and career ambitions.