As a recovering anti-socialite, I did not expect that getting sweaty with a bunch of strangers would be the highlight of my week. Nor did I foresee becoming a real-life robin hood, ready to save the day should the occasion arise. This however, is exactly what a week of saying yes to ‘Give It A Go’ at the University of Stirling, presented. Let me set the scene, it was a bright, sunny day (a rare sight in Stirling), when I, Racheal Adeoye, set off, on my bike, along the river path.
It’s Like Riding A Bike
Alright guys, I’m going to let you into an embarrassing secret; I was the ripe old age of fourteen years old when I learnt how to haphazardly ride a bike. It took another seven years before could ride comfortably without stalling traffic. It was not because I was scared. It was because I was terrified. Riding along next to speeding cars with nothing to protect you but your prayers, doesn’t exactly instill confidence.
So, I took an extended break from the road, in favour of jogging. Unfortunately I sustained a knee and Achilles injury as a result but that didn’t stop me. Knee injuries are common among runners but they are not the end of the world. Instead of bowing out of the fitness game to become a couch potato, I took to cycling. Because it is a low-impact cardio activity, it ensures there is less strain on the joints. That was, by far, the best decision I’ve ever made. That and the avocado toast I had three minutes ago.
Fun For Everyone
Badminton, while not widely perceived as a particularly strenuous sport, is one of the world’s most loved family past- times. What surprised me the most about the sport, was how popular it was University of Stirling. Of the ‘Give It A Go’ events I had been to, badminton was the most attended. And within 15 minutes, it was easy to understand why. The only rule is that you have fun. You don’t have to be good, to have a good time. I was on a first name basis with five other sweaty enthusiast, some a few years younger than me and others, many years older, after half an hour. That is the wonderful thing about the game, it’s for people of all ages, shapes and sizes. It also gives me an excuse to write the word shuttlecock an ridiculous amount of times. Shuttlecock. You’re welcome.
Steady Mind, Steady Hand
Like many students undertaking a vigorous course of study, anxiety rears it’s head from time to time. I have been known to switch off all communication to enjoy a day in bed with Netflix and a bowl of popcorn. We all need days like these, however a more lasting form of self-care would be to get endorphins flowing through the system. We all know that staying healthy and active improves your quality of life, but did you know exercise helps to improve memory and brain activity? The folks over at University of British Columbia did! If hitting a shuttlecock at 30 miles per hour is not your speed, perhaps the old bow and arrow is your calling. Of all the activities I experienced this week, Archery was the most enlightening. I was a little nervous holding such power in my hands, but after a few calming breaths, acute concentration and a level of hand-eye co-ordination only Robin Hood could wield, I was able to dart the arrow 2 inches from the bullseye! If you are looking for a sport that requires more brain power than man power, this one is for you.
Whether it’s whizzing down the country lane on wheels or hitting a oddly shaped object through the air, it doesn’t matter what you do to stay active so long as you do something. Studies shows that an hour of exercise a day can help to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Sign up to a local sport group and let the fun begin!
University of Cambridge. (2016). An hour of moderate exercise a day enough to counter health risks from prolonged sitting. [online] Available at: http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/an-hour-of-moderate-exercise-a-day-enough-to-counter-health-risks-from-prolonged-sitting [Accessed 20 Oct. 2017].
Harvard Health Blog. (2016). Regular exercise changes the brain to improve memory, thinking skills. [online] Available at: http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/regular-exercise-changes-brain-improve-memory-thinking-skills [Accessed 19 October. 2017].