As a 38 year old guy with no significant experience AT ALL of playing sports, it is very hard to see how I might start to get into them. Please help.
posted by Hartham's Hugging Robots to sports, hobbies, & recreation (28 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I'm male, 38 years old. I'm a little overweight (about 15st - sadly not all muscle! - at 6ft 2in) but don't suffer from any particular health / physical problems at all, thankfully.
I have never really played any sport; my life just worked out that way. Neither of my parents were sporting, and so I wasn't motivated or encouraged by them. Sure, I kicked a ball around a bit as a child, played with a tennis racket occasionally, but never anything sustained or at any significant skill level. Perhaps the most I did was some cross country running, which I found hard but relatively rewarding at the time - 12 or 13 - but then I quickly became far more interested in girls, music and bars.
The problem, then, is that I just don't get any regular intensive exercise - and that's clearly not good for my health. As I say, my health is OK right now - but I have young kids, and now really is time for me to start working on this! I also recognise that the right physical exercise can be a pleasure - and a good social activity, too. (For reasons too complicated to list here I could really do with some more good friends; recent house moves and life events mean I have a sadly small circle of friends).
Over the last four or five years I have joined a gym - several times - and even on the most recent occasion getting a personal trainer. But after much hard work I've finally figured out that I just really, really don't like doing gym work. I find it exhausting, unsurprisingly - but also just not at all a pleasure. Thus: I just can't keep it up. Similarly, over the last seven or eight years I've tried to take up jogging - several times. I even did a 10k about 4 years ago. But once again: I just don't like it. I wish I did: but I don't. I've tried cycling and similarly it doesn't work for me.
What I'd really like to do is take a physical activity that I might find *fun*. The sorts of things in my mind would be something like squash; tennis; maybe football (soccer); badminton, although frankly I'm open to anything, and I don't really know as I've never done anything! When I was younger I did love playing pool - not a sport that provides exercise, I know, but I loved the competition, skill and social aspects of that, so I know I enjoy those aspects of an activity. But here we come to the nub of my challenge, and my question to Ask Mefi: as a 38 year old guy with no significant experience AT ALL of sports, it is very very hard to see how I might start to get into them.
There are two or three main problems.
Firstly, it seems very much to me that the culture of people playing sport in my country (UK, btw), is that you're simply expected to be able to do this - and if you don't, you're just not part of that scene. Even if I could just 'turn up' and try and take part, I'd feel so out of my depth and uncomfortable. Imagine trying to turn up to an amateur five a side football match with people who've done it all their lives, and trying to join in without knowing any skill, tactics, positions, rules… etc. etc. It just aint going to work. (Please don't tell me I have self confidence issues here. Believe me, away from sports, I'm a perfectly happy and confident person. I'm being pragmatic about the skill levels that my peers are at, and the problem that you just get very few 'beginners' in this field at this age. It also really doesn't help that I have no interest in watching football - which again, is a great passion for many people).
Secondly, five a side football teams for adults who have never played just don't exist: just the same as tournaments for adults who've never played tennis, squash, etc. (I live in Oxford, a small city - so don't have the extensive resources you might get in e.g. London).
And even if I got a coach (for say, tennis or squash - although I'm not sure how easy that is or how expensive), all I really want to do is get some exercise and have fun, remember. If I'm going to have to put in 200 hours of coaching and practice to be able to play even the poorest other adult at my level, that's not going to be much fun, either.
So how on earth is one supposed to actually start?
I'd really love to change this part of my life, so any suggestions, tips or experience would be hugely appreciated. Thanks so much.