Inspiration comes in many forms; whether you’re inspired to don your finest apron because of Bake Off, sign-up to salsa classes due to Strictly, or revamp your front room after watching 60 Minute Makeover.
This summer, we’re certainly not short of inspiration when it comes to sport, with the likes of the Tour de France and Wimbledon getting the nation pumping up bike tyres and dusting off their rackets.
The Murray effect
In the scorching summer of July 2013, Andy Murray’s Wimbledon triumph led to a huge surge in adults and kids taking up tennis. As the Telegraph reported* at the time, London’s Regent’s Park Tennis Centre reported its busiest day of the year soon after Murray’s victory.
There’s something about watching sports that makes us want to jump up from our sofas and join in. You don’t need to be a pro to have a go and actually, being more active through the summer months and beyond can have a huge, positive impact on your health and wellbeing.
In fact, according* to the NHS, an active lifestyle could reduce your risk of major illnesses – such as heart disease, stroke and cancer – by up to 50% and lower the risk of early death by up to 30%.
So, we’re all well aware that exercise burns fat, boosts our metabolism and improves our cardiovascular health, but what about the lesser-known benefits of being active? Take up a sport and you may well find that…
You’re less stressed
A 2015 study* in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science found that aerobic exercise helps people to feel less stressed by reducing levels of the body’s natural stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. Head out into the great outdoors for a spot of exercise and not only will you feel de-stressed, says* Woodland Trust, but it’ll improve your mood and self-esteem, too – that’s two more benefits!
You’re more switched on
If, come Monday morning, you find that you’re more on-the-ball than you’ve ever been, it may be down to the exercise. Being active can improve cognitive function; although the exact reason for this is unclear, it could have something to do with increased blood flow providing our minds with fresh oxygen and energy.
You have better memory in later years
Though developing Alzheimer’s can’t be prevented, a team of researchers from The University of Nottingham identified* a stress hormone produced during moderate exercise that may protect the brain from memory changes associated with Alzheimer's disease. So, start making changes today and it could have a big impact on the future you.
You’re more sociable
If your emotional health and self-esteem get a boost thanks to exercise, this is bound to affect your social life. You might find that you feel more confident meeting new people and getting involved in things you would have turned down before. Signing up to a group class is a great way to form new relationships, too.
Your life insurance premiums could be reduced
Did you know that being healthy and active could bring down the price you pay for life insurance? This is because insurance premiums are calculated based on risk – if you lead a healthy lifestyle, you’re deemed less risky, so should pay less for cover.
For example non-smokers pay less in premiums and a non-smoker is someone who hasn’t smoked for at least a year and therefore could see the price drop significantly.
Our life insurance policies will help to financially protect you and those closest to you should the unexpected occur. If you haven’t got insurance and want to see how much cover you need, or you have a policy and want to check that you’re not paying over the odds, let us help you to value your world.
If you're inspired by the summer season of sports and find you're leading a healthier lifestyle as a result of taking up a new hobby, don’t forget to let your insurer know, as they may need to adjust the details of your policy. And if you’re wondering when to kick-off the new, healthier you, then it goes without saying: the sooner, the better!
Dates for your diary:
With cricket, rugby and football seasons continuing throughout the summer, here are some specific sporting dates to put in your calendar:
1st-23rd July – Tour de France
3rd-16th July – Wimbledon
20th-23rd July – The Open (golf)
4th-13th August – Athletics World Championships
21st-27th August – Badminton World Championships
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