Find Your Sport for Life
Movement is wellbeing. If you want to feel alive, just tie up your trainers and get out the door, get your heart racing, and feel the rush of happy hormones zip through you. Walk, run, or play. Pick a sport: which one will you take up? Do you like to kick a ball around? Or ride on wheels? Play in the snow? On the water? Solo? Or in a team? Choose your game.
As a child, sports were never not an option. With a professional field hockey coach for a father, teamwork and healthy competition were the bedrocks of my family and social life. Like most kids, I tried several sports. As I grew up, I gravitated towards yoga and made it a daily habit. This is not just a salute to my country of birth, India, but a sincere appreciation of yoga’s innumerable wholistic benefits. I also love functional training.
Take up a sport. Push yourself out of your comfort zone. Get moving. Yes, you will be sore, you may fall, scrape your knees, but you will be immensely rewarded — I don’t need to reiterate the benefits. Many people my age (I’m safely in my fifties) shy away from the challenge of physical exercise. Choosing a workout or sport that suits you and making it part of your routine may seem challenging at first but it’s nothing you can’t do. I am middle-aged too! I am aware of my physical limitations. But that hasn’t — and shouldn’t — stop me from exploring new avenues for physical wellbeing. Don’t let fear or society restrict your imagination and experimentation when it comes to sports.
Get set before you go
Can you boast a certain degree of fitness? Are your reflexes quick or slow? Do you have more strength or stamina? These are a few raw, physical facts you will have to take account of as you choose your sport. It will also depend on your personality and on the current state of your body. You may have to build up to the requirements of your new chosen sport, and work with a coach or teammate to get yourself up to speed.
A new sport offers a thrilling new experience and is a journey in self-discovery — of tapping into energy reserves you didn’t know existed, using neglected muscles, pushing your limits. With outdoor sports, you can embrace nature and adventure. An indoor sport can be equally fun and fulfilling, especially if you live in a city, want to avoid bad weather, or wish to join a club to meet people while you exercise.
Sport goes beyond the body
Whether it’s swimming, surfing, sailing, diving, cycling, soccer, rugby, netball, water skiing, hang gliding, running, racquetball, tennis, golf, cross-country, snowboarding, or even something more leftfield, learning a new sport is also excellent for your brain. What’s more, it can increase your vitality by improving cognitive function and help ward off age-related degeneration such as hand-eye coordination and loss of memory. Finally, sports offer a strong social benefit: you’re bound to meet new people when you try new things and, thereby, extend your circle of friends.
The virtues of sport transcend physical gains — it enhances our social and emotional wellbeing. It can even improve our spiritual sensitivity: stories abound of athletes finding strength in their faith and crediting their victories to enlightenment.
Few activities are better suited to an all-round positive effect on our Wholistic Wellbeing than sports, so run to the beat of your heart: to the local gym, the golf course, the tennis court, the soccer pitch, the bowling alley, the diving pool, the hippodrome. Whatever it may be, finding your sport will help you find yourself.