Published: 10 February 2022. Written by: Emma Wiggs.
‘Fit’ a term we all know but one that has different meanings to different people. Social media sometimes portrays ‘fitness’ as a bunch of lean bulging muscles or a skinny body shape, this can be both inaccurate and daunting for those of us starting out on a physical active journey. For me ‘fit’ and ‘fitness’ is about my mind and body being as healthy and happy as I can make it. Each of our bodies is different and each of us will enjoy different types of physical activity, there absolutely is not a one size fits all approach. I love the outdoors and being able to train in my canoe against the elements is part of the thrill of being active for me. For others, a nice warm gym or spin bike studio with pumping motivational music is more their thing, the vital thing is that you find what you enjoy, at the end of the day we want our active choices to be part of our everyday life and why would you carry on doing something that you don’t enjoy?
Confidence, or lack of it, can often limit our choices and restrict the opportunities we experience. Feeling nerves or apprehension when trying something new is completely normal. I would urge anyone to remember that no one ever started as an expert, everyone was a beginner at one stage. If I had never got in a canoe because I was scared to be surrounded by world class athletes who ‘looked’ amazing, I would never have found out I too could race against the best in the world, but more importantly learn to love a new sport that has shaped my life, in such a positive way. Also, be aware that our likes and dislikes change as we get older, things you enjoyed as a child at school may not be that great now, there are so many amazing activities and sports out there its important you do some research and have a ’give it a go’ attitude.
I became disabled aged 18, a pretty life changing event and one that could have meant I never embraced an active life again. I’m so proud that today, 23 years on, I sit here, fitter, stronger and healthier than I ever was as an able-bodied person. I learned that being brave and bold to try new things and take opportunities is so important. Physical activity is so much more than just a healthy body, it gives me a psychological buzz to know I’ve been active and the skills and resilience I’ve learned through sport have really helped set me up to deal with whatever life may choose to throw at me.
By embracing physical activity of any sort as a regular part of my life, has made me happier and healthier than ever before. So go find what you enjoy, commit to being active more days than not and find the positives that come from sport and physical activity.