Institute of Sports Science

Seasonal variation in sports participation

05.04.2017 – The World Health Organization (WHO) established guidelines for physical activity to generate positive health effects. Core elements in this regard are the duration (per session), intensity and regularity of the activity. With regard to the latter, empirical evidence shows that activity levels of many people vary across seasons. However, almost nothing is known about the factors associated with variation in sports participation across seasons.

In a recent research project, Ute Schüttoff and Tim Pawlowski (both University of Tübingen) explore the association between variation of sports participation across seasons and different factors such as socio-demographics by using data from the SOEP-IS module of German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP), which was developed by Michael Lechner (University of St. Gallen) and Tim Pawlowski and covers detailed information on sports behaviour and physical activity.

Findings suggest that participation in sports clubs and in commercial facilities have advantages with regard to continuous sports participation above the WHO-recommended threshold throughout the year. A similar association was found for participation in multiple sports activities, which is suggestive of time spent on one sport is frequently substituted by time spent on other sports throughout the year. These findings give some impetus for policy making if the overall objective is to counteract variation in sports behaviour and to foster participation on a level recommended to gain health benefits.

The paper is now accepted for publication in the Journal of Sports Sciences.

Schüttoff, U. & Pawlowski, T. (2017). Seasonal variation in sports participation. Journal of Sports Sciences, doi 10.1080/02640414.2017.1316864.