Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Olympic Inspiration

With the London Olympic Games hailed a success it seems that people all over the UK are gaining an interest in sports that they have barely heard of before! And I, previously sports sceptic, am one of them.  The superb performances by sports men and women honed to the peak of physical perfection have encouraging many.  With the Paralympics following hot on the heels of the Olympics there is no doubt that the inspiration that the games has provided in spades is going to be increased as we marvel at the determination and achievements of the para- Olympians.  

There have been many stories of inspiration and of how sport has changed lives .I have been humbled by the punishing training schedules that these elite athletes have to subject themselves to  - hardly surprising when my idea of a training schedule is probably taking the dog on a whistle stop lamppost tour of the immediate neighbourhood.   And I have to admit that I, who never imagined I would give a fig, gasped in horror when, after all that work, Victoria Pendleton and Jessica Varnish were disqualified from the women’s team sprint race on a day of high drama for Team GB in the Olympic velodrome. In contrast, the pure ecstasy on the faces of the medal winners as tears flowed freely down their faces is something we will surely ever forget, and yes I did shed the odd tear too.  

So if this magnificent display of physical endeavour has inspired you, if you know you are in a rut, and that you don’t do enough exercise or you just want to be more active, where do you start?  Come to that where do I start?  Should I buy gym membership? Trot out to the local pool before work?  Take to walking the dog further than just down to the pub and back?  Well all of these would be a good start but the secret is, I believe, not to be too ambitious.  Rushing out to buy a javelin might seem like a good idea but you are going to get some very funny looks in the park!  

There is no doubt that regular exercise is important for our health.  It is recommended that to maintain good health, adults need to do a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise and youngsters need to do about 60 minute a day. 

I work from home but if I did go to an office I might think of getting off the bus or tube a few stops early to walk the rest of the way.  Maybe leave enough time to ditch the car altogether and make journeys to local shops and even all the way to work, entirely on foot or on a bicycle.  It wont be long till you feel the physical benefit. 

The NHS have a very useful section on their website to help you find the sport or activity that is right for you. Take a look at their interactive tool for matching your ability and interest to a specific sport at:

So long after the last athlete has gone home, lets hope that the inspiration of the 2012 Olympics will continue and leave a legacy that will see us all improving our fitness and our health!  Oh, and I'll be the one plodding determinedly around a park near you.  But next year, well - just watch this space!

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Amanda Thomas