In my mind the volunteers in the London 2012 Olympics were the icing on the cake of what has turned out to be in the words of Lord Coe ‘the joyous games’. Karthi Srikanthan was one such volunteer; I asked her what it meant to be a part of the ‘greatest show on earth’?
‘I have been involved in athletics from a very young age and vividly recall watching Carl Lewis at the 1984 Olympics and more recently Kelly Holmes in 2004, thinking I wish I could be there. I knew I was not going to get there as a competitor! So when LOCOG began looking for 70,000 volunteers, the largest ever peace-time recruitment campaign in the UK, I was completely and utterly committed to the cause. I was overcome by tremendous pride when I found out that I had been selected to be a Games Maker at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Just one word describes my week as a Games Maker – AMAZING. I was a Games Maker at the Olympic Tennis at Wimbledon. Just being at Wimbledon, a quintessentially British venue, was fantastic in itself add to that being part of the Olympic Games – it was just unreal. It was just a fabulous week working at the gates scanning tickets and welcoming spectators. I also had the pleasure of working on Court 1, Court 2 and Centre Court helping spectators find their seats and being able to watch some fantastic matches. It was unreal walking past Murray, Federer, the Williams sisters and other top seeded tennis players. I also had the privilege of seeing Michelle Obama and Bill Gates. A week that I will never forget and proudly pass down the generations.
This past week has inspired me to not only continue with running but also try different sports like cycling or perhaps badminton. Being involved in sport whether it may be socially or competitively is extremely important for all of us. Sport increases agility, endurance, strength and overall physical and mental well-being. We are extremely lucky to have Sutton Park on our door step. So come on now get up and go for a little jog or walk’.
The Olympic motto ‘Cittius, Altius, Fortius’, that is faster, higher, stronger will have been heard by most of us in the last 2 weeks. With modern technology how can any of us not be affected by London 2012?
My question to you is where will you be in terms of fitness in 4 years’ time? You may not be thinking of being part of the Olympic team in Rio de Janeiro, 2016, but what will you take from the greatest show on earth? August 1st was an amazing day – our first two gold medals. Within hours of Bradley Wiggins taking gold on the streets of London, Sutton Coldfield seemed to come alive with people on bikes – all shapes and sizes. I have overheard young children ask their parents: ‘can we go for another bike ride?’ The swimming pools will be full of young hopefuls emulating Rebecca Addlington, the athletics tracks will come alive with activity, the sports halls will be buzzing.
We hear a lot about the London 2012 legacy; to connect young people to sport & sports participation being a priority. Somehow watching these amazing performances gives us all a bit more hope and self believe, not just our young people. My challenge to you is don’t miss the opportunity to improve your own health. If you have been, even, just a little inspired don’t let it go. This is your chance to take up a new sport, re visit any physical activity you have done in the past, or simply get into the exercise habit.
Our elite athletes will have been preparing for this Olympics for years. For us it may be better to look at the next 6 months, start your fitness journey today.
For the month of August Sutton Runner in Boldmere (specialist running shop) are offering *50% off Vivo Barefoot Running shoes.
Jamie Merrill’s recent article in the Independent concerning the toxic threat our Olympic athletes face when they compete in London 2012 is concerning. However, he also highlights how those of us who prefer to exercise in the outdoors can take steps to avoid the smog. During physical activity we will breathe more deeply which in turn allows more particles to bypass the nasal filters (our nose hairs). Those who are prone to asthma may find they get more coughs and colds. For those at risk (pre-existing lung conditions), there is information on air quality on the Defra website. As I write the current air pollution quality of the urban West Midlands is low.
In recent years exercising in the outdoors has become more accessible with; the 2005 Right to Roam Act giving walkers the right to access most areas of the countryside in England & Wales, promotion of Health Walks and recreational running groups and organisations such as British Military Fitness. The warmer climate makes this an attractive option but whilst getting fitter are we keeping healthy? Jamie Merrill’s guide to coping with the summer smog includes steering clear of our busy streets. How fortunate we are in Sutton Coldfield to have 2,400 acres of beautiful parkland to practice our healthy lifestyle. Trees in the park improve our air quality by reducing carbon dioxide and other potentially harmful gasses in the air. For those new to the Park there are maps available at the Visitors Centre. Why not use the summer months to explore this wonderful free facility we have on our door step?
Rob Downing started running with us less than 3 months ago and in that time he has gone from a beginner runner to one of our faster runners. I asked him how it all happened:
‘I’ve always enjoyed exercising, although, I found I didn’t seem to have the time or energy to keep it up with family, work and other commitments. As a result I became an unfit, overweight couch potato; and of course the older you became the harder it is to motivate yourself to do anything about it.
It was my wife, Lisa, who inspired me to join SE Fitness. She would come home after a running session fully energised. I resisted for well over a year saying “why do I need to join a running club? If I want to go for a run I’ll just go for one”. The trouble was I very rarely did. Then my resistance weakened and I signed up to 1 session a week. I found the experience so exhilarating, that 1 session a week just wasn’t going to be enough and now I run 3 to 4 times a week, including one session of speed training on the track.
I completed my first Great Midlands Fun Run in June, with the help of GMFR training with the running club and plans are well under way to do the Birmingham Half Marathon in October.
SE Fitness has running groups of all ages and abilities, taken by trained leaders to give advice and encouragement during your run and I have personally found that a chat with other runners along the way certainly helps.
Here I am at 51 years of age, starting a whole new lease of life, having lost about a stone and a half, feeling as fit as ever and mentally driven.
My advice to others would be if you want to run, join a group rather than battle along on your own, it’s easier to commit and great fun.
What a fantastic weekend of sport in the Community? Well done to Dennis Kennedy and his team. Thousands flocked in to Wyndley Leisure Centre and SE Fitness offered the ‘timed mile’ and the ‘timed 400m’
Many challenged for fast times to see just how close to our Olympic hopefuls they could get.
The last 400m of the day attracted over 100 participants including the Olympic Torch! From young to old, in a buggy on a scooter they all took part. What a fabulous opportunity to ‘get the exercise habit’
Thanks to all those volunteers who helped SE Fitness on the day.
It is not only ladies fashion shoes but also men’s shoes and trainers now that come with a ‘marked heel raise’. This change of position will have an effect on the wearer and it can be bad news for those who exercise. With the raised heel we will balance more on our mid-foot and toes which then requires our calf muscles and quadriceps to work even harder. This results in tight calf muscles which in turn may cause us to change our body position. We will tend to tilt the pelvis forward; the consequence may be back pain.
Naturally we tend to point our foot forwards and downwards whether sitting at the computer, driving and even whilst asleep. Check this out on yourself now. It is possible that your foot is in this position for just about all day and night. Now wonder why you get tight calves?!
Try the ankle range of motion test: stand between 5 & 10cm away from a wall with your legs together. Keeping your heels on the ground, squat down allowing the knees to touch the wall. If the distance from the wall to the front of your big toe is 10cm or more you have good ankle mobility. Not only is this a good test but it is also a good way to improve mobility in the ankles.
If you have to wear shoes with a heel raise during the day get into the habit of removing them as soon as you get home. This is some advice I keep getting whenever I have my counseling sessions with www.Neuropathyhelp.co. Walking around in bare feet or wearing a pair of ‘bare foot’ shoes in the evening will help to mobilize the joints in the feet. Whilst sitting at a desk try to ensure the whole of your foot is in contact with the floor.
You don’t have to throw away your expensive fashion shoes but be aware that keeping your foot in one position for much of the day will have an effect on your walking or running activities.
I have always felt a dog can be a great personal trainer. So, I was intrigued when one of our runners explained to me how she had got the ‘exercise habit’ Claire Walker’s story to fitness:
“Dogs bring great emotional benefits such as friendship, loyalty, protection, however it was only when I adopted my crossbreed Ace from a rescue centre that I learned just how fit they can help us to become too.
Now at this point in my life I was fast approaching 40 I had given up smoking, was carrying a few surplus pounds and was decidedly unfit!! I felt tired a lot and I knew I would benefit from some sort of exercise but was really struggling to become motivated.
Ace needed a lot of exercise, so slowly but surely we travelled further and further until we were doing up to 4 miles. Every day he would look at me with those hound dog eyes run to the door and wag and bark until I got his lead on, and I just felt too guilty not to take him out so barely missed a day.
I noticed how much fitter I started to feel and how much my pace was improving so the next logical step was to walk a little then run a little, Ace thought this was marvelous as he loved the increased speed, and before I knew it I was running. I loved how much more energy I had, how good it felt every time I went a bit further or a bit faster. 5 months after Ace became my personal trainer I ran my first 10k race. The sense of achievement was immense. This inspired me to join S E Fitness as I wanted to run with a group.
Thank you Ace my little crossbreed that nobody wanted, you’ve given me a healthy body and the motivation to run!
Despite the poor weather SE Fitness runners took it all in their stride…Well done to Jo Gardner who did yet another best time ever!
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