With Wimbledon drawing to a close for another year and all the excitement of the recent women's football World Cup, now is a great time to get sporty. As well as being good exercise, physical activity can have benefits for your mental wellbeing and give your social life a boost. Here are some ways that you can get involved, whatever your age or fitness level.
Many councils have invested heavily in local leisure centres, updating the facilities and providing lots of ways to get the community moving and having fun. If you haven’t explored the options in your local area, why not take a look at the website or head down there and see for yourself? Many of these centres have a swimming pool, fitness classes, gym equipment and special sessions for seniors.
Even if your area doesn’t have a big well-equipped leisure centre, there may be council facilities available to use, such as tennis courts. There has been a big push to get more people playing tennis, including providing courts that anyone can reserve and enjoy. Get online and see what’s on your doorstep.
If you want to get fit, have fun and help a worthy cause, why not consider a charity run? These are held throughout the year across the country. Many of the larger charities hold these events and welcome people to sign up, pay a small entry fee and pledge to raise sponsorship money.
Committing to a charity run can also be great motivation to keep training and to get to the finish line come race day. If the idea of a 5K or 10K seems daunting, don’t worry. You can go at your own pace and walk for part (or all) of the way if you need to.
Of course, it goes without saying that you need to build up to a race through proper structured training that incorporates warm ups and cool downs. There are lots of free online training resources for beginners, such as the NHS’ Couch to 5K running plan.
From cricket to caving, soccer to skiing, you’ll be surprised at all the local sport and activity clubs that are thriving across the country. Many of these welcome new members, even beginners. In addition to enjoying a fun new activity, these clubs can be a great way to get involved in your community and make friends. A good place to start is to access the NHS’ local sports and fitness search and type in your postcode.
Cycling remains extremely popular in the UK, not least because of the Tour de Yorkshire, which was first held in 2015. If you would like to get involved, there are plenty of opportunities, whether you want to cycle for fun or for fitness. You can sign up for a local leisure ride, join a cycling group or even get involved with competitive race cycling on the road or track – the choice is yours! Take a look at the British Cycling website for more information.
Spas aren’t just for relaxation! Many offer the chance to get active, and some even provide the opportunity to try out a new sport. For example, you can find spas and spa hotels with 20m swimming pools, golf courses and tennis courts. Book a break at a health spa (such as Hoar Cross Hall Spa Hotel, pictured below) and you will be able to choose from a range of classes and facilities that may include table tennis, badminton, archery, croquet and bike hire. You can try out a range of activities during your spa break and, if you find something you enjoy, you can find ways to stay involved when you get home, such as local groups or classes.
We hope this article has given you a few ideas of how you can get out and get active! It is easier than you think to get into sport, so why not explore the options near you?
NB: It is advisable to talk to your doctor before starting any new form of exercise, especially if you have underlying health issues.