December 2, 2013
Want To Be Happier? Try Hitting The Slopes
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
A team at Yonsei University in the Republic of Korea conducted a survey of 279 visitors at three major ski resorts in South Korea. They measured the level of happiness and satisfaction of skiers and snowboarders by assessing their sense of pleasure, their level of flow or engagement in the activity and the sense of involvement and satisfaction they subjectively reported after the winter activity.
The skiers and snowboarders spent an average of four and a half days at a resort, but more than 90 percent visited ski resorts fewer than five times in a season. The sample included 126 participants that skied, 112 who were snowboarders and 41 who participated in both activities.
The team found the sport has a positive effect on satisfaction and such rich experiences enhance happiness, which can lead to positive affirmations outside of sports to help have an impact on one’s health and well-being.
The team said the experience of skiing itself is so enjoyable that people will do it at great cost, just for the sake of doing it. Hyun-Woo Lee, a researcher on the study, said even one-off or fewer skiing outings had a positive effect on participants. They also found skiers showed a higher level of pleasure and involvement in their sport than snowboarders did.
The new study demonstrates how various elements, such as being deeply involved in an enjoyable activity, can enhance a person’s positive outlook on life. The findings are in line with the thinking of positive psychology that physical activity in sports helps people and communities to flourish.
“Together, these findings support the research model synthesizing the behavioral constructs of sport participation with subjective well-being perspectives,” the researchers wrote in the journal. “Moreover, the expanded model in a sporting context further evidences the functional roles of the orientations to happiness by results consistent with extant literature of positive psychology.”
Previous studies highlighted the benefits of participating in sports, such as preventing mental illness and enhancing positive thinking.
“Adult playfulness can influence people’s happiness, while activities and socially convening around a sporting activity such as skiing have positive psychological outcomes and contribute to overall well-being,” Lee said in a press release. “This is also true for people who only casually participate in sports.” Lee advised that people who organize sporting activities should attempt to build group solidarity and greater involvement so people can grow emotionally, socially and creatively.