Sophie, 26, has always loved playing sports, with her determined and competitive nature she found sport to be a positive and beneficial outlet.
“I started in primary school mainly because I wanted to beat all the boys in my class at everything. I was extremely competitive and sports day was one of my favourite days of the year. As I got older I started to see other benefits of playing sports and being active such as staying fit and a great opportunity to socialise.
“Although I’ve played lots of different sports, football has been my main focus and I have been playing for fun and competitively since I was 9 years old. I also coach football, which I have been doing for about 8-9 years.
“Whilst I have really enjoyed playing football, it hasn’t been without its challenges. When I was playing at a professional level, we had training 3-4 times a week, this was really difficult to fit in alongside my job. Often I wouldn’t have enough time to get there, which meant that I had to miss a training session every week.
“Over the years I’ve seen lots of benefits to being active. For me I have found that it takes my mind off of work or other stresses and gives me sense of relief. After being active I feel a lot happier, not only because being active is good for your mental wellbeing but because it gives me an opportunity to catch up with friends.
“I think everyone should try to keep active but it can be hard to get going, so my top tips would be to start off slowly. You could set little achievable goals for yourself, such as counting how many steps you take in a day and then trying to beat it the next day. Also if you have any friends who are also trying to be more active then you ask them to join you!
“Exercise is for everybody, there are loads of different ways to be active, it doesn’t necessarily mean going to a gym! You can get active indoors or in a park or even go for a walk. If you feel intimidated going somewhere new I would say that there is always somebody else feeling the same way, you are not alone and all it takes is one day and you are no longer the newbie.”