Staying active has never been more important. We live in a world where screen time often exceeds several hours per day, fast food is served on every corner and new technology means we don’t even have to leave our houses let alone walk down the road to fetch it.
For young and old alike, staying active has become increasingly important in a modern world that does not always encourage healthy habits.
Why is sport important?
The last 25 years have seen some huge changes in the way we live our lives that have had an adverse effect on people’s health. The advent of the internet, the increase in mobile phone usage and the ease of which we can choose to find entertainment indoors has seen a worrying trend developing in people’s health all around the world.
Obesity levels have soared – figures from the World Health Organisation (WHO) showed that, in 2016, 39% of adults were overweight and 13% obese. The UK is one country setting a good example in terms of how the state can help tackle these issues, with local councils being allocated funds from the government for this purpose. Bradford, Blackburn with Darwen, Birmingham, Lewisham, and Nottinghamshire councils have all been given £100,000 over a three-year period to help fund trial schemes.
The WHO’s figures highlight what a serious problem the ‘modern’ lifestyle can actually be, and the organization is keen to point out the role that exercise can play in preventing these health issues. It promotes at least 150 minutes a week for adults. As such, everyone can really help themselves by getting into sport as soon as possible. Being physically active is beneficial not just to your physical, but also your mental health and will create some wonderful memories of shared activities – but how to go about it?
How to get into sport
The best way is to have plenty of exposure. Even if you are not into sport yourself, try and get involved as much as possible. Going through community clubs is the easiest way to do this as they are likely to offer a number of sports as standard and will probably have a wider range of activities on offer.
The only way to keep invested in sport, be it cricket, football, gymnastics or rugby, is to make it fun. All too often, newspapers and blogs are filled with reports of people taking things too seriously and getting overly irate on the touchline of sports fields at the weekend.
Rugby School by G-man (Copyright free)
This behaviour, which is only carried out by a minority of people, has an adverse effect as it can make adults more reluctant to get involved especially if they didn’t particularly enjoy PE at school or are already lacking in confidence about their ability.
Going to see a sport live is a great way to keep you interested in the long term. Watching players, having that interaction and absorbing the atmosphere really makes a lasting impression offering inspiration, so try and make this a regular event. And to really ride off the back of that inspiration, check out whether your local clubs has a gym attached to the stadium: this is often the case, and they may be cheaper than some of the more mainstream, established places (with the possible added benefit that the sports club that houses it will get a boost from your membership).
Mitigating the expense of sport
The one thing that is easy to brush over is the fact that sport is not cheap. Buying equipment and kit, and paying to attend events live can be a stretch for many family budgets but there are deals to be had. Every industry will be able to give better prices based on certain conditions. Supermarkets for years offered the buy-one-get-one-free deal and it worked well at enticing people into the shop.
When it comes to kit, keep an eye out for deals online: websites such as Quidco can lead you to some excellent deals, as well as bringing in that all-important cashback. And to gain inspiration by spectating as we suggested above? Well, sports clubs are no different in terms of offering deals: they want your custom and have to compete in a market with several rivals. Just because you live in a town does not guarantee that you will support that team.
Going back the UK, we can see that Reading FC understand this and, therefore, offer some excellent value season ticket prices with over 65s charge at £215 and young adults at £135 – that works out at much better value per game than buying on the day. Typically, a local team’s prices will be lower than the big names, anyway.
Good habits for life
Making sport a big part of your life develops good habits that will naturally follow over the years and into later life. Trying to motivate yourself to do at least one bit of exercise every day is so important because the effects of poor diet and lack of activity can lay down the foundations of serious health problems.
Indoor football by Mario Ortegon (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Of course, there are so many ways to stay entertained nowadays without moving a muscle. And there’s nothing wrong with that, as this can provide accessible entertainment at a relatively low cost: in the online casino industry, for example, people can snap up free spins on slot games without making a deposit and, with comparison websites such as Oddschecker, it’s easy to find those deals. The television and movie industries have made viewing experiences more varied and available than ever, through mobile apps and compatibility with smart TVs – think Netflix or national channels and their internet video players. But these forms of entertainment should be balanced with some more active ones, for a healthy lifestyle.
There is no doubt that technology has been of massive benefit to the health of the population due to advancements in medical practices and monitoring equipment but it can make it too easy to be inactive. Being disciplined and taking responsibility for your health is not always easy, but a regular regime makes it feel like less effort.
Likewise, local councils need to make sure the facilities for the community are available, easy to access, do not have paywalls that could prevent low-income families from using them. Be vocal if you find the standards in your area are not up to scratch or don’t meet the levels you’d expect.
Everyone has an important part to play in helping avoid serious health issues but getting into sport, whatever it may be, is one sure fire way to get people on their way to a much healthier, positive and cheerful outlook on life.