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A Nation Of Couch Potato Sports Fans

14/06/2017 12:13

A nation of couch potatoes: 60% of sports fans spend more time in front of the TV

We are a nation of sports fans - watching sports on TV, whether it's the World Cup, Wimbledon, the Olympics, Tour de France...supporting our national heroes has become somewhat of a British pastime.

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But should we be doing more than just watching our sport heroes on TV?

DW Fitness has found that of those that watch sport on TV, just a quarter spend more time playing sport in real life
​Almost 60% admit to watching more sport on TV than playing sport in real life
And 70% of women admit to not playing sport at all
At a time when national obesity is affecting a quarter of adults, these are worrying statistics.

Carly Yue, personal trainer and nutritionist at DW Fitness says:

"As an adult it can be really scary to take up a new sport, especially if you haven't exercised since school. But nowadays there are so many options for trying out sport in a non-competitive environment, think of it more as a time to socialise than to exercise. New mums in particular feel guilty about having their own me-time to socialise, but doing something that is just for you and that has such a positive effect on your mental and physical health should be supported and encouraged more."

40% of women and 30% of men also said they haven't played sport for over 20 years:

The gender divide starts young, with just 19% of women and 40% of men aged 18-24 saying they have played a sport this week

The gap continues to grow with age: 65% of women aged over 65 haven't played a sport for over 20 years (compared to 45% of over 65 men)

Dr Philippa Kaye author of The First Five Years and Baby & Child Health comments:

"The fear of sports, especially organised sports often starts at around adolescence during PE at school - we are worried that we won't be good at it, that others will laugh at us, that we can't do it, that it is embarrassing. Add on 20 or 40 years and these anxieties can become quite deep-rooted and in addition there are new worries - I won't be able to do it, it will hurt my bad back/knee/fill in the blank. However being active isn't about being Usain Bolt, rather finding something that you enjoy, whether or not you are good at it, and just getting going!"

On watching sport on TV

"We all know that when we sit watching TV it is all to easy to mindlessly reach for the snacks or booze. Eating and drinking without paying attention to what we are doing means that we are more likely to eat and drink more than we actually need, again potentially resulting in obesity.

It is not just that we need to increase the amount of time that we actively do exercise but we also need to decrease the amount of time that we spend sitting down. Too much time being sedentary increases your risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke and even some cancers as well as not being great for your mental health.

Sitting down for long periods of time regularly can slow cause metabolic syndrome which is a mixture of high blood pressure, raised blood sugar and cholesterol and obesity around the tummy which in turn increases the risk of cardiovascular disease."

Eddy Diget, considered to be Britain's oldest personal trainer at aged 72 says:

"I think a lot of people don't take part in sport because they do not think they are good enough.
If you like the sport, and have the aptitude to play it, no matter what sport - do it!
It will stimulate your body through exercise, get your lungs working no doubt, and you will become part of a team you would normally just watch - what could be wrong in that?

The benefits to taking part in sport are not just physical, as the mental health charity Mind explains the social and emotional benefits of playing sport:

Making friends and connecting with people

Being around people is good for our mental health and social networks - plus you can maximise the benefits of exercising by doing it with other people. You may find that the social benefits are just as important as the physical ones.

Having fun

Lots of us enjoy being active because it's fun. Researchers have shown that there's a link between the things we enjoy doing and improvements in our wellbeing overall. If you enjoy an activity you're also more likely to keep doing it.

Challenging stigma and discrimination

Some people find that joining a sport programme helps reduce the stigma attached to their mental health problem. Getting involved in local projects with other people who share a common interest can be a great way to break down barriers and challenge discrimination.

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