On facebook the other day, my good friend and fellow coach Mick Kelly of Wexford Kettlebell Club posted this:
“There’s talk of a 5% cut in the governments sporting budget on Wednesday. Chances are there won’t be much notice passed on this latest cut. In recessionary times funding for sport seems very much a side issue. Politically sport doesn’t seem to matter very much to anyone, how many politicians do we here argue that this funding shouldn’t be cut. Yet sport plays a crucially important role in our society and has the potential to play an even greater one. Latest figures have government spending on obesity related issues costing 1.13 billion euro, 61% of Irish adults are overweight, we have the highest obesity rate among children in Europe. This is putting a massive strain on the health service and yet its obvious that even a moderate improvement in national physical fitness would reduce this strain on the health service. And what have the government been doing about this? Cutting the sports budget!! As the Federation of Irish sports put it ” further cuts in funding could have an impact that will not alone damage sport in the short term but will seriously compromise it way into the future. A lack of investment today will have its most damaging impact not today or tomorrow but ten years down the road”. Sport can make us a better healthier nation. It deserves respect instead of cutbacks. Because sport matters.”
Sports are of huge importance. The focus shouldn’t just be on obesity and the associated financial costs, instead it should be on the quality of life.
Sports participation changes lives. It certainly changed mine. If I had never joined that karate club as a kid, my life would have been very different. If I hadn’t acted on my instructors advice several years later: “Dave, you need to get strong” there would be no Wild Geese.
Joining Karate gave me confidence, self worth, motivation, it gave me a desire to keep pushing forwards, always trying to improve. It taught me that mental focus leads to physical gains and vica versa.
This is a gift I endeavour to give back to those that come to me for training. Many of my members tell me their own stories, how their lives have been adjusted for the better by participating in sports, be it martial arts, rugby, GAA, running or whatever. Never have I heard a bad story unless it’s about a physical injury.
The psychological benefits of participating in a sport, training in an environment like WG-Fit or simply getting out and doing it solo are massive.
And we all know, or at least we should know, that when the head is right, all else has the potential to fall into place.
That hour spent sweating, grunting, struggling and pushing has the potential to realign the next 23 hours of the day into something awesome. When people train hard they tend to eat better, sleep better, think clearer. They have more respect for themselves, which in turn leads to them having more respect for others. This in turn gets people to respect you more and before you know it you’re on an upwards spiral.
Over on the WG-Fit facebook page I’ve asked that people share their stories, I want to know how starting playing a sport or taking up training has affected the rest of your life, have you noticed a difference in your personal outlook, mental focus, mental clarity, productivity, exuberance and contentment.
You can use this link to get to the facebook post I’m talking about or you can simply drop me an email / comment right here: [contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]
What am I going to do with your stories? I’m starting a research project on the effects of physical exercise on mental health in conjunction with the charity I work with. Your stories may help us out with this, we may also collate them into a document to the government to restore funding to sports and recreation.
We’ll also be using them along side the Get1Active project, which you read more about here.