The hidden benefits of learning a new skill
When thinking about getting fit and exercising more, our first thoughts are usually that we should join a gym or start jogging. While these are both worthwhile activities, studies show that if you dislike the activity you’re doing, the long-term benefits are usually not enough to keep you committed. There are a few things that are often overlooked when talking about exercising more, particularly the fact that you can often improve your life in more than one way if you find the right activity.
Finding the right activity can boost your confidence and increase your daily activity levels.
We all have different tastes in food and the same is true for exercise. Some of us chase the thrill of learning a new skill; others prefer the challenge of pushing their limits of endurance while others love being surrounded by nature. Exercise is good for everyone, but finding the right activity for you is going to make it much easier to make it a committed part of your lifestyle.
We are also more likely to enjoy doing activities that we are good at. Some people have great balance, while others have great hand-eye coordination, others have great rhythm and someone who is an excellent dancer might be a terrible runner. Consider what you are personally good at and try to choose your activity based on this. Finding something that suits your routine is also an important component to making a new activity a part of your lifestyle.
Sometimes it is simply a lack of imagination that fails to get us off the couch. Jogging’s not for everyone, but one of these sports might be. Here’s a quick list of less common activities that you may not have thought of trying: rock-climbing, volleyball, soccer, hula-hooping, slacklining, golf, mountain biking, hiking, standup paddle boarding, roller skating, skateboarding, dancing, Pilates and yoga, just to name a few.
Learning new skills can be good for your brain.
Many people think that as they get older, learning new skills becomes too hard. The truth is, that with a bit of patience, you can surprise yourself with your ability to learn new things at any age. The brain is capable of incredible change and adaptation to new stimulus. Learning new things can be a great source of confidence and exercise has been shown to improve your brain function overall.
Many activities can help you meet new people and open you up to new communities.
Even solo sports often have well-connected communities. Surfers have surf clubs, or often meet each other in the water, rock climbers are always looking for more people to take adventures with and people who wake up at 5am to do boot camp together become great friends. As we leave high school and university, it can be harder to create new social connections. Using exercise as a way to make new friends can have a significant impact on your overall wellbeing. In many activities, the communities are extremely supportive of beginners and you might be surprised at how friendly they are to newcomers.
Ask one of our expert physios for advice on which activities might suit your ability level and tips to ensure you stay injury free when starting your new hobby!