A couple of summers ago, I decided to take up cricket. At 40 years old, and never having played it before, it was a little bit daunting; however, undeterred, I put my best foot forward, spent far too much money on acquiring all the gear, and abandoned my wife every Sunday from April to September. One year later, I was awarded a trophy for being the most improved player on my team and it was a fantastic feeling. So, with Sport Relief around the corner, the weather getting sunnier, and a growing awareness that we need to be much more active in our daily lives, my post this week will give you the top five reasons to start a new sport.
1. You will make new friends
For many people, making new friends isn’t easy. A lot of our lives, these days, revolve around online activities – games, social media, etc. – and actually going out and meeting people we don’t know feels like an insurmountable challenge. If you start a new sport, no matter what it is, you will instantly be surrounded by a new circle of like-minded individuals. The regularity of going to practice/matches every week will mean you get to know them quickly, and you’ll soon find that your friendship extends beyond the pitch.
2. Your physical health will improve
You don’t have to take up something extremely physically demanding in order for it to be beneficial for your health. The great thing about sport is that there genuinely is something for everyone; whether it’s walking, running, net ball, cricket, football, badminton, or gymnastics – anyone can find a sport they enjoy and just getting out of the house, on your feet, and moving about is a huge boon for your body.
3. Your mental health will improve
As well as the emotional benefits of making friends, physical exercise releases ‘happy hormones’ that give our mental health an enormous boost. Have you noticed the rise in outdoor gym equipment in local parks? That’s because the Government wants to encourage as many people as possible to get out and get fitter. Not just for their physical health, but for their mental wellbeing too.
4. Your confidence will go up, and up, and up
There is no better feeling than achieving a goal you have set for yourself. This doesn’t mean you have to be the best player on your team, or the fastest runner, or the best batsman. But simply facing your fears and doing something positive for yourself will give your self-esteem a huge boost.
5. It gives you something to do!
Sitting at home, watching TV, playing games on your phone, or staring into space are all very well and good but after a while they become pretty repetitive. Getting out, socialising, and doing something new will be infinitely more enjoyable and it will open new doors for you. You never know who you’ll meet or where your new hobby will take you.
BONUS REASON: Taking up a new sport doesn’t have to be expensive. You can borrow equipment, buy it second hand online or from friends, or you can do something that requires no equipment at all like running or swimming.
Written by Mr Thurlbourn