31 December 2018

Healthier, happier communities for 2019

| Emma Davidson
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Kids and adults playing baseball in a park

Kids and adults playing baseball in a park. Photo: Emma Davidson.

There’s three ways you can go with New Year’s resolutions. You can make a resolution about personal goals, like getting fit or quitting smoking. Or you might have a more community-minded goal, like reducing waste or getting to know your neighbours. The third option is to say “bah humbug!” to New Year’s resolutions and just carry on eating leftover pav for breakfasts, and we all know that’s not going to end well. But what if there were a way to combine personal and community focused goals into a single resolution for a better 2019?

Community sports are a great way to take care of your own physical and mental health, be part of making our community stronger and happier, and have a great time. Community sports range from informal pick-up games among friends and neighbours, to organised social leagues with uniforms and training schedules.

We all know that we need to be more physically active, but finding the time and money is not easy. For many people, community sports are a way of combining social time with physical fitness, more fun than solitary activity and increasing the likelihood that you’ll stick with it.

Joining a social sports team isn’t just about the personal benefits. It’s actually good for our community. It’s easy to look around and see how diverse our community is, but sometimes we forget that our diversity is our greatest strength. Sport is something that truly has the capacity to bring a diverse group of people together. When you’re all working together for a team win, it matters more that each person in the team is playing to their full potential. The things that too often divide our community off the field become less important than our shared (literal, for football codes) goal.

The great thing about community sports is that there’s something to suit everyone. Yes, really – even if you’ve not played sports since you were a kid, you’ve got a health condition, you have a busy schedule, you’re feeling pretty broke after the Christmas blowout, or you’re under 8 or over 80.

Running can be more fun with a group. Parkrun have groups all over Canberra at 8 am every Saturday, it’s free, family friendly, and you don’t have to be fit to get started. There’s also YMCA Canberra’s Runners Club. Just grab a pair of running shoes and have a go!

Varsity Roller Derby League are about to start a rookie intake – great for anyone aged 18 or over, and there are skaters over 50 years old in the league. They’ll teach you the basics of skating and stopping safely, and you can join as a referee if you don’t want to play contact.

Badminton caters well to varying levels of age, skill, and fitness, with clubs all over the ACT. Once you’ve got a racquet and some running shoes, it’s an inexpensive weekly habit to maintain.

If you’re looking to work on your zen more than your cardio, archery could be just the thing. Weston Valley Archery Club> have beginner sessions twice a month on Sunday mornings, so you can learn the basics using borrowed equipment before deciding if this is the sport for you.

If you have a health condition impacting your ability to play sports, there may be something for you at YMCA Canberra’s Active Y programs. They have basketball for people with intellectual disabilities, sailing and paddle board clubs, and community gyms with group classes for all fitness levels.

Trying a new sport can be a lot of fun, especially if you bring a friend or family member with you. Just remember that it doesn’t matter how many times you fall down, it matters that you keep getting back up.

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