"I was almost always the last one to be picked for any team sports. This made me feel quite isolated."
I was born missing my right arm below the elbow and have experienced health complications my whole life. I have previously talked about trying a new sport for the first time, how failing is never the end and how I have been making friends and learning to believe in myself. In this blog, I’ll be looking at what motivates us to get active.
I’ve always enjoyed being physically active, but hated PE at school. Being a relatively scrawny child and visibly different, I was almost always the last one to be picked for any team sports. This made me feel quite isolated but I had to be there and began to resent that fact.
For some people, they might choose to get active because they feel they have to. How often have we heard people join the gym because they have to get more active but drop it after a while because they don’t enjoy it? How many people set out New Year’s resolutions because they feel they have to? How many feel they need to get fit in time for the summer? Often, people are getting active because they feel they have to, not because they want to and that’s going to make it harder to keep it up.
Despite my PE experiences, I always enjoyed movement, challenging myself and finding my own zone when doing sport. Outside of school, I tried dancing, cricket and other activities but eventually I ended up doing swimming and karate. These weren’t team sports and so I didn’t have the anxiety I had when doing PE. From 16, I started picking up injuries due to Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and I was forced to stop karate, a sport I loved. I was told I had to stay active by my medical team but couldn’t find anything that worked for me. I started feeling guilty for not enjoying the sports I tried and this took such a toll that I stopped being active altogether. It took nearly 10 years for this to change.
Cancer and my recovery were my turning point. I had to get active to improve my prognosis.
My friend suggested climbing and I found a sport I love even more than karate! It gives me peace, a social life and something that lets me escape from my complicated world. Six years ago, I would struggle to walk up a flight of stairs, and now I’m trying to get on Team GB!
Whatever your motivation for getting active, whether it’s for your health or just pure interest, my advice is to find something you really enjoy. If you enjoy what you are doing, you won’t be doing it because you feel you have to, you’ll be doing it because you really want to.
If you’ve found your motivation but haven’t find the right activity for you, keep looking! Eventually you will find something for you, the key is to keep trying until you do!