Category Archives: Healthy Living

Too short for sport…never!

The challenges in sport I know only too well and the main one I find the hardest to overcome is my height. While standing at 5ft tall (give or take a few inches), I am still well on my way to finding the perfect sport that suits me. In my most recent blog; “Jenni vs Sport, I shared my reports on several different sporting activities I undertook. As I’ve already pointed out, sport to me seems to be a bigger challenge than I imagine it is to most people above the average female height of 5’4″ in the UK. Nonetheless since starting at Living Sport I accepted the challenge of facing something new that I may potentially fail at. In layman terms, let’s just say in some sports I felt a little intimidated! It wasn’t because the people I played with weren’t encouraging or showing any support but because the majority of them simply towered over me! In a competitive, contact sport that is not what you need or want to feel.

Of course, in theory, there are hundreds of sports out there that would be perfect for me and my height shouldn’t matter or conflict with my performance in anyway. There are countless people taking on different sports who face the challenge of being below average height but prove to be truly incredible at their sport. These people are excellent examples, especially in contact sports as you just have to find the right position that works for you and then keep up with the training. Fitness today is a huge industry, in which a large majority of the population seems to be getting involved, either for themselves or to help support those who need the push and motivation.

Personally I feel I was never anything special when it came to ‘shooting sports’ such as netball. I would always avoid particularly challenging or responsible positions on the court such as goal shooter or attack. My excuse would always be ‘the goal is too high for me’ and ‘my tiny T-rex arms just don’t have enough power to throw hard enough’. I have the same issue with other types of games even those outside of sports. For example during one of our activity lunchtimes held weekly, a colleague introduced me to a card game called “Spoons”. At one particular point in the game you have to reach across the table and grab a spoon; it’s safe to say my ‘T-Rex’ arms didn’t help me out then either.

For me, being 5ft means short limbs, so as per the issue of having small arms I face the same issue when facing any running sport. I’m no sprinter and picture myself running double the pace of others just to keep up with people- even when someone is just walking! The image itself I find pretty hilarious but it doesn’t help when I have people shouting at me on the side lines, ‘Run! Use those little legs!’ When I try to I just get the sense that my legs are about to fly off if I push too hard or feel that burning pressure.

Though having said all of this and probably portraying that being short is the worst thing in the world, it’s not. I am 5ft tall but I’m happy with it, as I believe if you keep up with your training and find the right place in the game you will be fine and even have fun. Small people are much harder to catch, just like mice so this can help you prove to be better than other players. The important thing I’ve learned from playing more sport is to just go with the flow and enjoy it because there should always be something out there that will make you stand out!

Lets us know what sport you enjoy and makes you stand out by tweeting us @Living_Sport

Written by Jenni Misseldine, Administrator, Living Sport

 

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“All the gear and no idea” but gave it a go anyway!

On the evening of Thursday 18th June at Hinchingbrooke Park I began my 6 week Kayaking beginner’s course with Huntingdon Canoe Club through Living Sport’s New2 project. The idea of New2 is to encourage mainly women aged 25 and over whom complete less than 30 minutes of exercise a week, to slowly increase the amount of exercise they do.

At 6:30pm I approached the lake with my friend Holly, where David and Sophie from Huntingdon Canoe Club were waiting for us. There were around 14 of us altogether, all awaiting instructions of what was going to happen during the next 6 weeks. Looking around the group I felt at ease immediately as I knew everyone was in the same situation; they either had never kayaked before or hadn’t for a long time. Once the initial registration had taken place, they started getting us ready with all the gear we needed to wear. The phrase “all the gear and no idea” sprang into mind!

We tried and tested a few boats to see which one suited us best; being short I was happy to give the smaller boat a try and with my junior paddle, life jacket and splash cover I was all set to go on the lake. My immediate fear is capsizing and falling into the water and being stuck in the boat, of course this would never happen as you just fall out once you’re upside down. We were all lined up along the lake front and gently slid into the water, I didn’t realise that instantly you find yourself floating away or going in circles. We split off into two groups and David took charge of our group, he taught us how to paddle forwards, backwards and sideways, letting us have a go each time which helped us get used to the boat and the rhythm of paddling.

In week 2 we went on the stream which felt like a completely different experience, due to it being narrower and lots of trees on the side but it was great, just really relaxing. I feel in the next 4 weeks I am going to learn a lot, the club are brilliant and make it really fun.

“Huntingdon Canoe Club is a friendly club which has been in existence for over 30 years. We are proud to be running a scheme for ladies called New2 to encourage new participants in the sport.” Sophie – Huntingdon Canoe Club

Living Sport have other New2 projects starting up with Turn that leaf joggers – a beginners running group and Badminton at Cherry Hinton Village Leisure Centre. For more information on these projects visit our website http://www.livingsport.co.uk/new2-funding-brings-opportunities-women-get-active/

Written by Jenni Misseldine, Living Sport.

How to make 150 minutes work for you

Every week there seems to be something issued in the media about keeping active and eating healthily. Eat this, don’t eat that, do this, don’t do that – it’s never ending! However, the underlying message is all the same, to feel good and live longer we need to look after ourselves. I am a big fan of everything in moderation and trying to balance things out. If I pig out on junk food on one day, the next I’ll try and add some extra fruit or veg to my diet. Now the weather is slightly improving I am getting into the habit of walking my son to school rather than driving him down the road. That’s a 10 minute light walk there and a 5 minute fast paced walk back as I have to then rush to get my daughter to nursery and then get myself to work on time! Not only is it good exercise for me but it’s exercise for my kids as well and teaching them to not be so reliant on mummy driving them everywhere – whether this message will still be there when they are teenagers may be another story!

The NHS have Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults available on the website which gives advice on the amount of physical activity adults aged 19 to 64 should aim to do a week. It is recommended that adults do 150 minutes of activity a week, and when reading this my first thought was “how am I going to fit in 150 minutes of exercise a week around work and family?” However, when you break this down it is about doing just over 20 minutes of exercise a day. Now that sounds much more manageable doesn’t it?

The guidelines mentioned above break down the types of activity recommended and they do include a fast paced walk – so that includes school runs! Gardening is also included, along with mowing the grass and more traditional activities such as going for a run, a bike ride or going swimming.

A few of my friends who have lost weight through healthy eating are now trying to get fit as well but aren’t really gym goers so they have started doing he popular running programme Couch to 5k which seems to be working well for them. It builds up your running gradually and you can fit it in around your schedule. If running or going to the gym isn’t your thing then they are some great opportunities to get active coming up over the next few months.

Great British Tennis Weekend comes to Cambridgeshire on 16th /17th May, 13th/14th June and 1st/2nd August. Tennis clubs around the county are opening their doors and offering free or low cost opportunities to anyone who fancies giving tennis a go. May sees the launch of the successful Push The Boat Out programme providing people with the chance to try out water sports. If the water isn’t quite your thing then May is also National Golf Month  which is encouraging more people to get into the swing of physical activity. On 20th June, the Ping! Festival will launch in Cambridge and will see Table Tennis tables set up around Cambridgeshire to encourage people to have fun and try something new.

Get your workplace involved and register with the Workplace Challenge, get your team together to do a lunch time activity, great for team bonding and breaks up the working day. Monday 18th May sees the start of Workplace Health Week and on Wednesday 20th May workplaces are encouraged to take part in #MiddayMile. All employees across England are invited to take part, and with more than 7,000 businesses and 30,000 people already registered to take part in Workplace Challenge, the event has the potential to be one of the biggest simultaneous, multi-location mile challenges to take part in England this year.

These events will take a little more effort to go to in order to take part. If you are not too confident in trying these new sports as a way to build up your physical activity minutes then focus on walking or riding your bike to places instead of using the car or public transport. You could also just do some sit-ups and press-ups in the comfort of your own home as it is important to do muscle strengthening activities as well as aerobic activities.

Why not do what I do and get the kids involved! My 3 year old tries to copy me when I do press ups and my 5 year old likes to sit on my feet to help me do my sit ups. We count how many times each of us can jump on and off the bottom step in 30 seconds and they like having little running races when we go to the park. It gets them used to activity and makes sure I get my minutes in on a weekly basis too.

150 minutes sounds like a lot of activity but when you break it up into 20 minutes of activity a day it is a lot more achievable and not so daunting!

Written by: Rebecca Whitwham, Living Sport