In general I like to encourage people to become more active and I really do not think that there is an age limit for doing sports. The benefits of exercise are so plentiful and generally well known that I feel a little silly for even considering mentioning some.
The ones that I like the most are that it is ‘me time’. Even if I do sports with others, I don’t do it for my work place, or for the country or for some other reason but purely my own enjoyment.
Others benefit in the long run as well. The brain benefits as well as vascular supply, that means the blood supply to the brain, increases. It is not just the muscles that benefit from better blood supply but the brain as well, and more oxygen is usually better than less. Our capacity to deal with stressful situations increases because we have found an outlet for the tension that can build up and we could even become more tolerating of others.
One problem we do have in clinic is to find patients a sport that they really like! More often than not I hear that “I really need to join a gym to become more fit!” or “I should really go and start running to lose some weight”. But I really think that we only live once and that there is no benefit in forcing yourself to do a type of exercise you simply don’t enjoy. There are so many different sports that are not even in the Olympics, so it’s well worth doing your research to find the one that suits you best!
The gym is a place where many isolated muscles can be trained, various wonderful exercises can be done and it is nice and dry and all in one place. The same applies to Yoga, Pilates, Barre, gymnastics, polefit and various other sports. But do not forget about good old sports like archery, circuit bootcamps, tai chi etc. Why not get in touch with the clubs who usually are very glad for new members, like cricket, rugby, hockey, football and tennis.
Another problem that often crops up is time. “I really would like to swim” or “I never know whether I have to work then or not.” Remember that this is something that you want to do for yourself. The problem of a difficult schedule can be gotten around by the many exercise classes that have a pay-by-class arrangement. If you know that you can’t make it every week, just pay per class.
Many of my patients also have family commitments. They have to look after children or parents. In these situations it may be a good idea to either coordinate that all do a sport together, or to coordinate that all go together to the leisure centre on the same evening. It’s no mean feat to coordinate this but it is possible!
Last but not least I would just like to repeat that it is very important to look for an enjoyable pass time because we are simply more likely to stick to it! We are more likely to make time for it because we are looking forward to it. That is where the real benefit lies! Many thanks for reading and good luck on your new endeavours!