This month the legendary athlete Catherina McKiernan offers simple and practical advice about the benefits of becoming involved in sports. The level of involvement is not important – being involved is. In this months article Catherina highlights the physical, social and mental benefits of partaking in sport.
We are offering you the opportunity to ask Catherina questions
Did you ever want to ask Catherina a question about running, training, resilience, well-being or her glittering career? Due the huge response we are getting on a monthly basis from schools, clubs, groups and parents we are offering you the opportunity to ask Catherina questions or seek her running advice directly.
Catherina will answer your students questions
All you have to do is simply email us your question by Monday the 15th October. Catherina will select a number of questions on a special “Running Free with Catherina” video and direct the answer to your school or club directly. The video will be posted on our website and social media on the 26th of October.
This is a unique opportunity to get your questions answered from an athletic great. It is also an excellent opportunity to help motivate others to become healthy and active.
Running Free with Catherina – Float over the hurdles of life with sport
I am sure you have noticed that more and more people seem to be taking up some kind of sport or exercise, the most popular being running and cycling.
I also see a pattern where a lot of teenagers don’t participate in any sport. The reason for this is they feel they are not good at sport and they lack confidence as a result.
Find a sport that you like
There is a wide variety of sports that you can take part in. This will give you a great deal of confidence and well-being. This is something that parents and teachers should ingrain in young people’s minds. Not everyone is good at swimming, football, running etc, but you might be good at basketball, badminton, volleyball or some other activity.
A lot of opportunities and encouragement
In most cases, the teenagers who are good at sport get a lot of opportunities and encouragement. We need to concentrate on those teenagers who don’t have the confidence or feel they are not good enough. They need to be introduced to a few different sports.
Health and well-being is what is important
Children should be encouraged and allowed to realise that it is not all about winning. The taking part for their own health and well-being is what is important. They need to believe in themselves and know they can participate but they need to take that step.
A very positive move forward in their lives
Unfortunately teenagers who don’t take part in sport may look for attention in less attractive ways. I think we need to introduce young people who are inactive to a variety of different sports. I have no doubt that within weeks they will have chosen a sport that they like and really enjoy.
This can only be a very positive move forward in their lives.
Builds a strong character in people
Personally I feel in some cases youngsters are forced into competition against their will and this can be off-putting for them.
I don’t see anything wrong with young people training or doing a particular sport for their own fitness and health. Of course competition is healthy and it builds a strong character in people. As we know it does not suit everyone and that’s the area we need to work on.
The balance needs to be found where teenagers and young people feel comfortable doing a sport for themselves without having to perform or compete.
Would have been easy for me to opt out
We should encourage a reluctant teenager to exercise or get involved in some activity. I was very shy when I was younger and it would have been easy for me to opt out, especially from team sport. But I found it had the opposite effect on me. I was more content and I wasn’t as shy around my friends.
Become active and involved in sport
We tend to focus a lot on academic achievement as a yardstick to future success. I believe that if you become active and involved in sport, it will have as good an impact on your prospects in later life as any academic success.
Importance of exercise for health and well-being
We definitely have to really encourage youngster and teach them the importance of exercise for health and well-being. When you exercise you have structure and stability in your life and you feel good about yourself. You will be able to float over the hurdles that life can put in front of us.
An active teenager is a happy one.
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