Greenbelt

Commonwealth Games Work-Out Day Six

Yes, it’s the final day of our Commonwealth Games guide to getting fit and staying healthy, just 24 hours before Glasgow hosts the opening ceremony . . . and you’ll be truly surprised by our sporty inspiration!

Welcome to the thrilling world of lawn bowls . . . yes, really!

While often thought of as the preserve of pensioners, lawn bowls is enjoying an urban revival, with the younger generation taking up the sport in their droves.

Despite its environment of perfectly preened lawns and tranquil settings, the world of bowls can be thrilling and competitive. The focus of bowlers is unrivalled and their precise performances make for tense games. 

The sport really is ideal for all ages and abilities, from pre-school to pensioner, and you definitely don’t need to be athlete-fit to enjoy it. In fact, a bit of patience, focus and tenacity – mixed with a competitive streak – is all you need to get you started. It is low-impact, social, promotes co-ordination and is often credited with being therapeutic – the ideal sport to counter the stresses and strains of modern life.

And best of all? It’s an outdoor sport, by definition! While it might not offer the same heart-pumping adrenaline rush as mountain biking, the benefits of healthy dose of vitamin D are limitless.

Many towns, villages and cities in the UK have a bowling club, and for a small fee allow non-members to play. But if you aren’t ready for the clubs, leagues and competitions why not take a few bowls to your local green space and enjoy a relaxing game with friends? It’s the sport of choice in Europe, with dozens of people congregating in village parks and squares all over France and Italy to while away a sunny afternoon with a game of boules.

Why not follow our continental cousins and enjoy this pastime?

Bowls might be low-impact and non-contact, but as with any sport, injury is still a possibility. The best way to prevent strains, aches and pains is to warm-up properly with some deep stretches. Stretching will also improve your range of motion, promote agility and stave off stiffness.

You may not be burning up a huge amount of energy during a game of lawn bowls but that does not mean you shouldn’t choose the correct foods.  Games of lawn bowls can run for more than three hours, so competitors need a good source of fuel.  Today’s secret ingredient is pearl barley!

As well as being packed with essential vitamins and minerals, pearl barley is also a low GI food.  Foods that register as low on the Glycaemic Index provide a more constant source of energy – and because they are digested slowly, glucose is is released to the brain over a longer period time. Perfect for helping to maintain a bowler’s concentration!