Get back into sport
Many of us used to play team sports when younger but got out of the habit due to the demands of work and family life. If you’d like to reap the mental, physical and social benefits of playing sport but don’t know where to start, read on for some tips on how to get back into your sport of choice.
If you haven’t exercised for a while or have an underlying health condition, you may want to check with your GP first. Also ensure that any activities are carried out in accordance with the latest Government guidelines.
Golf is a sport that’s enjoyable for players old and young, and at different fitness levels. If you’ve had a break from playing, you might feel more confident once you’ve had a chance to practise. You could hit a few balls at a driving range, or get a couple of lessons at your local golf club to improve your technique. Lots of clubs hold taster sessions or group lessons, which are a good opportunity to meet other players.
Once you’re ready to get back out there, take it easy and start by playing nine holes. Go by yourself, with a group of friends or take the family out with you. It doesn’t really matter what your score is – the important thing is to have fun in the fresh air and enjoy the social side of golf. You’ll be back in the swing of things in no time!
This can be an individual sport, but it’s easier to keep motivated when you’re running with others. Try joining a running club or pairing up with a friend to keep you company.
If you’re returning to running and are not sure about your fitness level, the NHS Couch to 5k programme is a great starting point. The app guides you through a mix of running and walking sessions to gradually build up your fitness, so just pick one that seems appropriate and give it a go. You can always switch to a harder or easier week if needed.
Lots of us enjoyed playing football at school, but haven’t kicked a ball in years. The good news is that whatever your age, ability or fitness level, there is a type of football you’ll enjoy. As well as being a good aerobic workout, football also promotes teamwork on and off the pitch, as many teams socialise together.
Whether you want to re-join a Sunday league or just a kickabout in the park, the FA has this handy tool for finding football near you.
If you don’t feel comfortable playing football due to age or injury, consider walking football. As the name suggests, this is a slower-paced game, and it’s a great way to stay healthy and make friends whilst enjoying the sport you love. The rules include no running and no contact so it can be played by people of all ages. To get involved, find a club near you and go along to a session.
Netball has never been more popular, with record levels of participation across the UK. If it’s been a while since you played, you can get involved in the Back to Netball scheme, where the focus is on a fun and friendly re-introduction to the sport for women of all ages and levels of experience.
Otherwise, you can join a local netball club for regular fixtures and training, or try a casual league if you just want to rock up and play. Like football, there’s also a version called walking netball aimed at older players. Whatever you choose, netball’s popularity means it’s easy to find sessions taking place near you. Use England Netball’s search tool to find out more and get back on the court.
There’s something out there to suit everyone. It doesn’t matter if you don’t feel like a ‘sporty’ person - as long as you’re moving around, meeting new people, and most importantly, having fun!