Inspired by…Wimbledon

It’s July. It’s England. It’s strawberry season.

And it’s Wimbledon.

I don’t play tennis but I can’t fail to be inspired by the amazing athletes playing at the most famous tennis courts in the world. It just makes me want to scrabble around in the loft for a couple of rackets and find a 70s style plastic visor on eBay.

Tennis, it seems to me, is a really good way to keep active. You can usually find some tennis courts in your local area (find yours here) and if you can’t borrow or hire rackets and balls you can pick up some cheap ones in your local sports megastore.

You can take it as easy as you like. Just popping the ball back and forth to your partner will get you moving without too much effort (and, if you’re like me, you’ll be getting a good workout by simply retrieving all the balls which you’ve failed to hit).

Then, when you feel a bit more confident, you can step it up and start practicing those 100-mile an hour serves and aces.

Strawberries and tennis: a good match
Strawberries and tennis: a good match

A recent study1 found that a small group of inactive middle aged men at risk of heart disease who completed an 8-week tennis-based exercise programme showed improvement in fitness, a reduction in body fat and lowered their risk of heart disease.

So, persuade a friend, partner, or even one of your kids to venture out to your local tennis court and muck about for an hour. Then you will rightly deserve a Pimm’s and a bowl of strawberries.

 

1. Rosa Jr et al. A tennis-based health program for middle-aged men who are at risk for heart disease. Integrative Obesity and Diabetes 2017; 3(2): 1-6.

Inspired by…Chelsea Flower Show

Chelsea Flower Show 2017 kicks off today so it’s a good time to write about how gardening can be a great way to stay active.

A survey by the Royal Horticultural Society last year found that digging, weeding and mowing the lawn were cited as the top three activities to give the best workout.

Gardening burns calories and helps to tone muscles. Constant movement, bending and stretching will also help you to stay flexible. Gardeners in the RHS survey said that they felt physically and psychologically energised after doing a stint outside and one in five said that they felt less fit if they hadn’t gardened for more than three weeks.

Nature: good for the soul

Not only is it good for the body, but being out in nature gives a double whammy of being good for the mind too.

 

Inspired by…Winnie

Winnie on her farm
Winnie on her farm

Let me introduce Winnie.

As a girl she grew up on a Welsh farm. She had to walk miles up the farm track to get to the road, then even further to school. She never learnt to drive and spent her whole life getting from A to B under her own steam.

She was tiny in height but strong as an ox. As a nurse, she would regularly lift heavy old men in and out of their hospital beds. In her eighties she was still regularly walking a two-mile round trip to get milk and newspapers and spent hours tending to her garden.

Winnie, my grandmother, passed away in her nineties in rude health. I’m convinced her healthy long life was due to good old fashioned walking and staying active every day. I intend to follow in her footsteps.