I have played golf for many years and have ran for less - but never realised the mental and physical benefits until recently.
My golfing journey started from a young 12 years old, without a care in the world. When I started to play, I didn’t have a bill to pay, a job to worry about, a house to manage or a family to please. I would just turn up, plonk a ball on a tee and spend four hours on a roller coaster of great shots, lost balls, water hazards and hopefully pars... and I loved it.
As I have grown older, the dynamic has gradually changed. I now have all the trappings of a man in his 30s. I have what I believe to be a stressful job, bills that don’t give in and children that create a whole new world of issues, mainly driven by social media and seeing how 'Susan and Craig' down the road bring up their kids in a parenting utopia which I could only dream of.
Despite all of these pressures, I think i'm doing okay. I am relatively fit and healthy and don't worry too much. I try to take things in my stride. But why, and how?
For me it's the ability to escape. But not physically, more mentally - through sport, specifically golf! I believe that there is an unappreciated importance to sport.
With the power of golf, I can escape. There is a period of time (usually 4 hours plus a beer) that I don’t care about the bills, what I messed up at work or what Susan and Craig have done this week. I can just go and give my mind a rest.
As I've said, when I started it was all so easy. But as an adult, I seem to care more where that ball goes. I've been known to swear, and dare I say it, throw my clubs. But these on-course issues, are just this. The key is the indisputable benefit it has for my overall mental well-being. There cannot be any doubt that once on that course, I do not think about those other trivial issues, the issues that create significant problems for men and women everywhere. For a moment in time I have an escape and a rest from those mental pressures and the usual trappings in our daily lives this world has built for us. For me as an adult man, with every pressure available, these sports and escapes allow me a period of time to stop, and rest my mind. It allows me to remember that fun, sport and anything else that takes our minds away, is okay.
So find a sport, or an activity - enjoy it and escape... just for a little while.
Find a new activity or sport:
BBC Sport - Get Inspired's A-Z guide to sport and activities
British Heart Foundation - Quiz: Which fitness activity suits you?
AA - Find a golf course
Take a look at our sports and fitness section to read more blogs.