Check out our latest magazine... Read Online

Be Well, Move Happy: Connections & Sports

In the second month of this new health column, Sara Whatley looks at the health benefits of connecting with others and joining a sports club

‘All you need is love’, sang the Beatles. "Realise that everything connects to everything else", said Leonardo Da Vinci. Connection is everything. Without connecting to others, humans are at a loss. In this feature I offer my thoughts on how to build more meaningful connections with others, and how connecting through sport can be a brilliant way not only to keep our bodies fit, but our minds also.  

What does connection with other humans look like for you? It might be a weekly chat on the phone to a family member or friend. It might be a daily check in with a local shopkeeper. It might be working with colleagues in an office or having a quick catch up with other parents on the school run. It might be virtually connecting with others in different countries, or it might be surrounding yourself with family and friends every single day possible.

To build a real meaningful connection with someone we need to get vulnerable. Someone once said to me when I had lost contact with a friend, share something personal with them and they will share back. They did and our connection was re-established.

It can be scary looking for connection sometimes, like going on a first date, but the rewards will be great. Take a deep breath and ask a colleague if they would like to join you for lunch. It could simply be eating your sandwiches on a bench together outside. Or how about signing up to a volunteering position? There are lots of organisations who need volunteers to connect with elderly or vulnerable people on a regular basis, bringing a myriad of benefits to both parties.

You might find connections by putting yourself out there in a new setting; join a choir, a beer club or a horticultural society.

Whatever you do, try to find the connection with others in day-to-day life. Smile at a stranger. Have a heart to heart with a friend. Just connect.



It’s easy to get stuck in a rut with exercise. We find something we like and enjoy, we get comfortable doing it, and then for no apparent reason, our enthusiasm and motivation can fade over time.

If you want to level up your exercise routine with connecting to other people, then you might want to consider joining a club and trying a new form of exercise. There are so many different clubs on the scene. Pick and choose from tennis to rowing, horse riding to running. How about a weekly dance lesson where exercise takes a back seat and fun takes a flying leap to the forefront? You will be concentrating so hard on the dance steps, the music and your dancing partners you will forget you are even exercising at all. Perfect!    

Many clubs offer different levels of accessibility for our various needs, such as walking football or sitting volleyball. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned fitness fanatic there will be a sport and a club out there for you, with professionals to guide you along the way too.

The benefits of social exercising reach far beyond the health benefits we all know exercise can potentially give us – more energy, better overall health, lower blood pressure, a stronger and toned body, and a surge of happy hormones. A club offers the opportunity to make new friends, find a like-minded tribe, and also enhance the friendships you already have through your increased motivation.

Sports clubs can also make your exercise routine more reliable – you wouldn’t want to let down the rest of your team or club members. So if you struggle getting off the sofa (we all do!) then look to others to give you the jump-start you might need.    

More from Features