The Benefit Of Being Active

An interesting hobby or taking part in a sporting activity not only benefits the body and mind, but also is a great opportunity to interact with other people and make new friends.   Sport can be therapeutic it reduces tension, makes you sleep better and releases pent up emotions and it provides the opportunity for social contact, which can goes a long way to lifting the spirit.   Participating in an activity with a friend is doubly enjoyable as it helps keep a focus and provides encouragement, one to another.    Playing sport has the advantage of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and therefore, physical independence into older age.   Although all activity is beneficial, not all will improve body strength, stamina or suppleness to the same degree.

Take a look at the following list of popular sports which are accompanied by stars varying from * one star to *** three stars.   These indicate the specific physical benefit of each activity.   Use them to find an activity which suits your individual fitness requirements.   Some of you will want more strength, many to build up stamina or others to become suppler.   Whichever sport or exercise you choose make sure it’s one you really enjoy doing and make a habit of doing it.   If you are with people you like and you do have fun; the chances are you’ll stick to doing it.

WALKING

Strength                      **

Stamina                       **

Suppleness                  *

SWIMMING

Strength                      ***

Stamina                       ***

Suppleness                  **

EXERCISE TO MUSIC      

Strength                      ***

Stamina                       ***

Suppleness                  ***

BICYCLING

Strength                      ***

Stamina                       ***

Suppleness                  **

BADMINTON

Stamina                       ***

Strength                      ***

Suppleness                  ***

TENNIS

Stamina                       ***

Strength                      ***

Suppleness                  ***

SQUASH

Strength                      ***

Stamina                       ***

Suppleness                  ***

GARDENING

Strength                      **

Stamina                       **

Suppleness                  *

DANCING     

Strength                      ***

Stamina                       ***

Suppleness                  **

PERSONAL TRAINING

Strength                      ***

Stamina                       ***

Suppleness                  ***

PERSONAL TRAINERS

A personal trainer can encourage you to look after your body and motivate you to be more active in the privacy of your own home on a one to one basis.   The National Register of Personal Trainers (NRPT) has over 1,000 teachers on their list and refers enquiries to fully qualified and insured Personal Fitness Trainers throughout the country.   After an initial assessment a plan of action is drawn up and varies greatly from person to person.  Depending on physique, ability, and personal requirements.   The advantage of having a personal trainer is the total flexibility; they will fit into your timetable and come to your home.   You can have the programme tailored to your level of fitness and physical abilities, go at your own pace, and under supervision you can confidently build up your level of fitness.  Once you have reached a suitable level of fitness you can consider taking up an activity which you enjoy on a regular basis, and why not encourage your friends to join you!

For further information on activities contact your local Sports Centre

STRETCHING

Stretching out your body is a great way of fighting stress and relaxing your body.   As a bonus it will also improve your posture, stretch out your muscles and keep your joints supple.    Stretching also keeps you looking and feeling slimmer and younger and helps to reduce many aches and pains.   The best time to stretch is when your muscles are warm.   I find that first thing in the morning or last thing at night are the most convenient times for me, but many of my friend’s do their stretching when they are relaxed after a warm bath.    Learn to stretch out and relax for15 minutes or so 3 or 4 times a week you will find it most beneficial.

Many people make the mistake of holding their breath when they stretch or do exercise, but it is important to breathe normally during this time and to relax.   For the stretches to be effective hold them for 4 – 8 seconds but do not “bounce” them.   Learn to stretch out carefully and slowly taking the stretches to a comfortable limit, but don’t strain.   Start gradually and you will soon find that after a few weeks you are able to extend and stretch that little bit further.  Some stiffness the next day could be a good thing, indicating that your body is loosening its stored up tension.