The meaning of sport at Christmas

From muscle relaxation tips to the meaning of colours, sports lecturers Matthew Greasley and Rebecca Moore provides us with an insight into sport at Christmas. 



Ever felt that sudden excitement when you start your Christmas shopping? Chances are arousal and motivation may have been responsible. Motivation is believed to be slightly inherent, so we are born with an ambition to be motivated, influencing how we experience and respond to situations. So, do you carry on your last minute shopping spree buying your best friend a present or sack it off when you can’t find anything?! Or, in a sports environment, how does a football team react to letting in a goal in the 86th minute, do they fight on and score themselves, or give up?

Motivation can be inspired by either extrinsic motivation or intrinsic motivation; extrinsic typically being a reward at the end, so getting a present in return from your friend. Intrinsic is driven by internal rewards, in other words, the satisfaction of finding a present you think your friend will like and why you power through your shopping. Psychology is now being seen as crucial within sport, hence why elite athletes across all disciplines have invested heavily in sports psychologists, but also in the general population with an increased awareness of mental health.

Courses relating to motivation at UCB include: Sports Therapy,  Sports and Fitness Studies and Sports Management.  




Soft tissue massage is the process of manipulating soft tissue to benefit a person through reducing pain and increasing their range of movement. This is commonly used both pre and post event for mainly an effect on the muscular and cardiovascular systems. However, many more people now are appreciating the therapeutic benefits of massage, which is shown in some studies to have short term effects including temporarily decreasing blood pressure, decreasing heart rate and slowing down the rate of respiration. This can be done on an individual basis using tools such as a foam roller and myofascial release balls. So, if you’ve been kneeling wrapping presents or sat through some classic Christmas films (Home Alone being our favourite!) and your legs feel a bit stiff, why not use a foam roller and decrease your tightness or decrease the depth for general relaxation?

Learn about soft tissue treatments with our Sports Therapy and  Sports Massage and Remedial Therapy courses.






Imagine you’ve just been out to buy all of your food ready for Christmas then a twinge in your back… you start to feel a sharp pain down the left side. The most probable cause is a muscle spasm. This can be due to a significant period of time that the muscle has spent in a shortened and contracted state. So, while shopping, think to yourself… which arm do I tend to carry my shopping on? It is common that for opposite side to experience the pain. Why not distribute evenly when walking with bags? It can be very tempting to just rely on one hand carrying all the shopping while the other hand is warm in your pocket or holding your mobile phone. In the long run, it can have effects on sleep disturbance, posture and even the way you walk.

Learn more about posture in our Sports and Fitness StudiesStrength, Conditioning and Sports NutritionSports Therapy and Sports Massage and Remedial Therapy courses.




Christmas is normally associated with the colour red. Red is a very emotionally intense colour, often enhancing human metabolism and increasing respiration rate and blood pressure. Its colour meaning is also often related to energy, strength, power and determination, as well as passion, desire and love. I think we will all agree that the majority of these traits relate to Santa and Christmas, however, did you know Santa used to be dressed in green… which symbolises growth, health and safety, all traits that is wished upon during the Christmas period. Sports clubs, gyms and clinics all use different colour branding to achieve different reactions, football clubs such as Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool all have red kits to symbolise power and courage, whereas Chelsea and Everton wear blue, symbolising authority and intelligence. 

Courses relating to sports psychology at UCB include: Sports TherapySports and Fitness Studies,  Strength, Conditioning and Sports Nutrition and  Sports Management