Have You Taken Up Sport Because of the Olympic Games?

04/09/2012 16:48 BST | Updated 04/11/2012 10:12 GMT

British people have been enthused by the Olympic games and are searching for those long-forgotten trainers - inspired to exercise by the wall-to-wall sport on TV - according to a feature in the latest issue of Time magazine.

And why not? 2012 has been a bumper year for sport with the Euro football, Wimbledon, the Olympic games and now the Paralympics all taking place one event after the other - not to mention the cricket tests, rugby six nations and everything else that has happened this year.

Getting the public to engage with sport was one of the legacy commitments made when London won the right to stage the Olympics back in 2005, but this government pledge was quietly dropped sometime between then and now. However, despite the lack of any formal targets it seems that British people are taking up the challenge themselves - spurred on by day after day of great athletic performances on their TV.

And I have personally taken up this challenge too. I travelled to the Olympic games and spent a month in London watching sporting events and participating in other cultural events or business meetings. Paradoxically the month was spent watching sport, rather than doing it, and eating and drinking far too much - far from healthy at all.

When I lived in London I was a regular urban cyclist, riding at least 30km a day around the city streets. I arrived at the House of Commons for a meeting once without time to get changed and I was actually praised for my environmental awareness - even in my less-than-formal cycling attire.

Now I'm living in São Paulo it's not an option. If you think London is tough for cycling then try it in a city of twenty million people where the car really is king. A new cycle lane just opened on Sunday in Avenida Paulista - a major city centre street perhaps analogous to Oxford Street - but it applies only on Sundays. The rest of the week it's not just difficult to cycle anywhere, it's dangerous.

But since I arrived back from London on Aug 21st I have been out running almost every day. Not in a gym - out on the street pounding the tarmac and dodging the potholes. It hasn't cost me a penny in gym or club fees and yet I have already lost 3kg and hopefully more over the next couple of months.

It's hard to get back into regular exercise after a long break, especially a long break that included the daily consumption of English beer, but it does feel really good to be getting fitter again.

And I've not only been exercising, I volunteered to help out at the Brazil World Cup in 2014. They are already looking for volunteers and what might interest sports fans back in the UK is that the primary requirement for volunteers is an ability to speak fluent English. This may seem strange in a nation that uses Portuguese, but I assume FIFA wants English speakers because the World Cup is a global event.

I've certainly been inspired by the Olympic games to improve my own fitness and to get more involved in sport again. I hope that millions across the world feel the same way and get the chance to enjoy sport - even if it just means taking a run around the block more often. Who knows how many medical conditions of the future might be avoided thanks to this burst of international physical virtuousness?