ABILITY/DISABILITY: Participation can be affected by our physical and mental abilities. The Paralympics has increased the status of sport for people with disabilities and there are a growing number of opportunities at local levels. It can still influence the type of activities undertaken
AGE: This can affect performance and participation. There are age restrictions on competitions for safety reasons. Older people often have less time due to work commitments. Younger people often have fewer resources or less freedom to participate. Certain sports and activities tend to suit certain age groups.
GENDER: Despite equal opportunities some sports still favour one or other gender. There are many more opportunities than there used to be for both genders. IMAGE can have an impact on gender choices in sport
RACE: There are some strong links between particular sports and ethnic background. Equal opportunites have made all sports more accessible to all but there are still some sports favoured by certain racial groups possibly because they are more common in their country of origin.
MAINTAINING OR IMPROVING HEALTH
People often choose to begin or continue doing sport to keep healthy. The media publishes a lot of articles about the benefits of staying active as we get older.
Doctors often advise people to take up sport when they begin to suffer from certain lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and blood pressure
Participation can be affected by a persons individual health problems. Arthritis, asthma or epilepsy are examples of illnesses that can deter people from being active although not in every case. Choice of sport can also be decided by health issues. Some sports are more appropriate than others.
Often an appropriate activity can help to reduce the worse effects of some illnesses
How you look when doing sport can influence participation.
FASHION: Certain types of sports wear can become fashionable. People often wear the kit of their sporting hero or heroine. Sportswear labels become popular such as NIKE or ADIDAS. Sometimes different labels can be expensive as a result of media coverage.
MEDIA COVERAGE: If certain sports are covered on the media they are more likely to influence participation levels. This is a positive effect of media. If we see our sporting heroes behaving badly on TV it can affect our behaviour too.
NATIONAL SUCCESS: If a country becomes successful in a particular sport it can influence many people to take up that sport at local levels. Cycling has become very popular in the past few years following Olympic successes.
ROLE MODELS: We often want to be like the sporting heroes we see on TV so it inspires us to work harder and get better at our sport. New sporting heroes or heroines can influence young people to begin doing a certain sport.
FAMILY: We often grow up seeing family members participating in certain sports. This can influence our own choice of sport. If we spend every weekend at the Rugby club because our parents go there we are more likely to do that sport. A negative effect is that we may not like sport if our parents do not do any exercise. Girls are more likely to exercise if their mother is active.
PEERS: Our friends can be a positive influence. If they do sport we are more likely to do it too. On the other hand if our friends are not very active we may feel influenced not to do any sport ourselves
COST: Different sports cost different amounts of money to take part in. If people do not have enough money their socio-economic status has affected their participation. Some sports require very expensive equipment other sports are relatively cheap as they do not require much kit.
STATUS: This refers to a persons position in society. If they are emplyed they have money but less time. If they are unemployed they have less money but more time.
Different jobs might make people more likely to do certain sports. Running is a cheap sport, football is medium cost and golf and sailing are much more expensive.
CLASS: Certain classes tend to participate in some specific sports.
AVAILABILITY: Suitable facilities and resources must be available. You can't go sailing if there is no appropriate water to sail on.
LOCATION: Some places tend to offer certain resources so it makes certain sports popular. If you live near mountains you are more likely to be able to go mountaineering, hill walking, mountain biking and climbing. You are less likely to do these things in a big city
ACCESS: You have to be able to reach the facilities so transport must be available. Parking is also an important consideration.
TIME: The facilites need to be open at a good time for people to use. Evening facilities are important for people who work during the day.
People need to devote time to their sport if they want to perform at high levels. Time for training is important and being able to attend competitions. Amatuer sports people often struggle to find time to practice.