Spoiler alert – I was NOT a sporty kid. Although I was always willing to give things a go, from hurdling to rugby and from dance to hockey, I was never really skilled at any sport. I never fully committed. Unless hitting a marble with a baseball bat counts. I smashed that one. And the french windows. Sorry mum and dad.
I suppose it was when I was in my mid-20s that I started to really connect with an active lifestyle. It started with zumba, which tapped into my previous dance experience, and provided me with some of the strongest friendships that I have today. And then I found running, the sport that has become a huge part of the person I am today. Chuck in a bit of yoga, strength work and bouldering, and I think that today a lot of people would describe me as their sporty friend. 13 year old me finds this hilarious.
And the key reason why I have made sport such a huge part of my life? Because it is VITAL to my mental health. Yoga forces me to focus on my breathing, that life force that we never stop to think about from day to day. Running allows me to take my stress to the pavements and leave it there. Bouldering makes me feel like I could achieve anything as I force myself to face my fear of heights. When I’m not able to do sport, especially running, I can feel my stress levels start to rise, my sleep becomes disturbed and my temper frays more easily.
I could link to dozens of articles praising the positive impact that physical activity can have on mental health. We know it helps ease anxiety and stress, but did you know that it can improve your memory and boost your self esteem?
Here at Talking FreELY we don’t believe in separating physical health from mental health. The fact that being active aids the mind shows us that we should be looking at them both together as just HEALTH. This is why our next event is a sports taster session. I know that not everyone is willing to throw themselves into a variety of sports like I am. It can be daunting to try something new. But this will be the perfect event for you to pop in and simply give a sport a go! We’ll have badminton, baskin, boccia and table tennis, with plenty of volunteers to talk you through the sports and of course, to simply talk. And best of all, it’s free and open to everyone. Come along – we can’t wait to see you.
Sports Taster Session, 9th September 2017, 3pm – 5pm, Paradise Centre, Ely.
– by Lauren Thomas