Sports Motivating Healthy Living
How Sport Can Motivate Healthy Living for All
Features and News by Nino Severino
The Hub Team are motivated by many wellbeing aspects through the work we deliver, recently I watched a programme on Diabetes and its effect on the population and the cost to the NHS for treatment, this motivated me even more. I had to re-wind when I heard that £1.5m per hour was being spent on treating diabetes, every minute, I thought I could not have heard this correctly, that’s a mind blowing £25,000 every minute, £14 billion every year. As I watched, it was quite upsetting to see the suffering this condition causes, and the health complications it inflicts on the patients. Much of this ill health, misery and cost to the country is directly linked to lifestyle choices, and in particular the foods that are eaten.
It seems that my involvement, knowledge and experience of nutrition, across general health and sports performance have all joined in a very interesting junction of my life and it is taking more and more of my attention and focus through my lead role at The Hub. As an elite coach, it’s only natural I need to be aware of the incredible performance enhancing attributes it can have on the athletes, and I have worked with countless sports men and women in terms of supporting the way they implement this area into their lives. Most recently, I work very closely with many athletes who are super interested in nutrition and its benefits in sport, these athletes are fully in tune with the fact, that good nutrition effects performance, and to a big extent can prevent injuries, and of course the bi-product, are the massive health benefits it provides.
I talk about my “life path junction”, and how so many nutritional areas have all joined together for me, apart from nutrition in sport, I am very committed to doing my little bit in terms of educating pupils at the schools I visit around the country, my National health and fitness tour included two schools in Ilford, London, and a big part of my talk, was about nutrition and its benefits. But I know only to well, that the main driver of good nutrition and healthy living for children will come from the home, and the effect and influence the parents will have in this area. I’m sure, if you’re a parent, you will know how difficult it is to apply healthy nutrition for the family on a day to day basis, for many challenging and complicated reasons.
Looking on the bright side, there are many individuals such as myself, organisations, associations and health and fitness bodies and businesses all delivering positive initiatives such as our Celebration of Sport programme. When I visit a school, I really enjoy telling all the children about sport, I use the story of my wife, Elena Baltacha-Severino and I, when we were part of the Olympic Team who competed at the London Olympics in 2012. On display, I have the torch that Elena ran with during her leg of the Summer Olympics Torch Relay across Great Britain, I also have our bright red Olympic kit bag, full of the items we used during our time in London.
I’m very proud to say, that within my own family, we have a beacon of light in this area of healthy living and lifestyle options, her name is Leanne Geaves, she’s married to Luke, and together I have watched them gradually change their lifestyle, in particular their food choices and the meals they prepare for themselves and their three children. Leanne has not picked the easiest way of life, she is a Vegan, anyone who is aware of Veganism, will know, it’s a pretty disciplined way of life in terms of really developing knowledge, and applying this knowledge in terms of preparing healthy meals, that taste great, well, I can say Leanne has truly mastered this craft. The more I spoke to her, the more I have become interested in this lifestyle, as I started to study it more myself, I realised that many elite and world class athletes are actually Vegans and abstain from eating any animal products in their diet.
Both Leanne and I spent half a day together, and during this time we started to research the athletes who have committed to this way of life, and to be honest, I was truly amazed. The tennis legend who is Venus Williams is a Vegan, Lewis Hamilton from Formula 1 racing driver, is also, and the list went on and on! David Haye, and also ex athletes such as Martina Navratilova and the legendary sprinter Carl Lewis. This exploratory exercise then took us into the world of celebrities, and the depth and breadth of the rich and famous who were committing to Veganism was impressive, Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande, Jennifer Lopez, Woody Harrelson, Brad Pitt, Jay-Z and Beyonce, and the list goes on and on.
This motivated me to find out a lot more about this lifestyle choice, and of course having a Niece who is a committed Vegan is very helpful, I asked her “Why Veganism Leanne?” and what she told me in the next hour or two was very, very interesting, and extremely thought provoking. Veganism extends much further than just a lifestyle choice, it extends into areas such as the devastating effects that agriculture is having on our planet, she asked me to watch a programme with her, some of you may have already seen it, its called “Cowspiracy”, and I have to admit, it really did affect my thinking about my food choices, and how this is inextricably linked to our very precious planet. We carried on talking, and I did challenge Leanne on the variation of meals that were at her disposal, she said, “Uncle Nino, once you start on this journey, it really does open up an exciting way of life and gives you a different focus on food and the meals you can cook”. She then began to show me lots of images of the Vegan meals she had cooked, and they looked great, but I said, “How do they taste?”. She said, “I’ll cook lunch for us, right now”, and the meal she created was absolutely Moorish!
For sure, Veganism will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you are at that point in your life, where you are looking to make a healthy lifestyle choice, I would give Veganism a little look, Leanne’s passion for this lifestyle is certainly making me think twice!
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