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BLOG | January 22 2020

Sport + MICE = SPICE in Life?!

Musing over the benefits of playing sports for mental and physical wellbeing, developing transferable business skills, connecting with people, and sharing culture.

I love being active. Sometimes it’s a good thing, sometimes it’s counter-productive and I find myself more wrecked after “time-off” than I do at the end of a week in the office!

I’m currently sitting here with a stiff neck after a double rugby header at the weekend. Madness really… and perhaps a bit oxymoronic (or maybe just moronic!!?) that being active aka “healthy” has actually brought me the opposite; a body covered in aches, cuts and bruises.

Is it worth it? Well, I could probably choose a different sport and reap equal gains with significantly fewer pains… BUT as the very savvy Guinness ad has noted…

Did you know?

  • With a 28 percent increase in registered players since 2017, Women’s Rugby is one of the fastest-growing sport in the world.
  • For the second year in a row more young girls have got into rugby than boys; so women now make up more than a quarter of the global playing population.

World Rugby’s global campaign “Try and Stop Us” uses the inspiring stories of 15 women and girls, who are ‘unstoppable’. The campaign highlights how rugby has empowered them to get where they are today, both on and off the pitch.

This comment got me thinking about the importance of sport from a wider point of view; how its benefits can transcend into all spheres life, including, very significantly, the workplace.

Sport for Personal Well-Being

It is well documented that sport is good for you, both on a physical and mental level. A Red Bull article last month went through the best sporting activities for a healthy mind. Running, Swimming, and Cycling, Extreme Sports (for that extra adrenaline hit!) and Team Sports were all mentioned. Exercise in general has a very powerful effect on the brain. Endorphins lift your mood and give you a sense of wellbeing which can last well beyond the exercise itself. General happiness, raised self-esteem, a confidence-boost…

It’s definitely hard to get off the couch sometimes… but when you do, you ALWAYS feel better.

Sport in Business

From a business perspective, is it something that should be encouraged? What about the risk of injury and subsequent sick leave? Trust me, the pros definitely outweigh the cons! Team sports are the ideal platform for employees to develop a plethora of soft skills. Discipline and relationship building… how to assess situations, delegate and make the right decisions… Sport can even hone management skills and team-building characteristics. Such soft skills are hard to “teach” but team sports offer the ideal environment for them to develop naturally within your employees.

Sport and Travel

Involvement in sport is usually part of a person’s weekly routine, but as people travel more, they are bringing their runners with them! The Parkrun is the perfect example of a global exercise phenomenon. Started in 2004, it’s now a global community of 3 million people running in 22 countries. Anyone can participate in any designated park around the world… just turn up and join on any Saturday at 9.30am! Early morning runs have also become popular at trade shows, with #IMEXrun a highlight for many participants… an opportunity to stretch your legs and get fresh air, but also create personal connections with business associates.

Sport and Cultural Immersion

Aside from physical and mental well-being, developing soft skills and creating connections, sport can often offer immense cultural insight. While running gathers a global community of followers, national sports like Hurling (Ireland), Pelota (The Basque Country), Bandy (Russia), or Pesapallo (Finland) can offer rich and exciting cultural experiences for visitors. Even for the “non-sporty” there is nothing quite like swinging a hurl around to make you really feel part of the culture, to get a sense of place, and have a laugh in the process! More than ever people want to participate, and sport offers opportunities like none other;

Today’s luxury traveller seeks more depth of understanding and immersion into local culture than ever before. People don’t just want to see – they want to participate (Global Luxury Report 2020)

Physically, mentally, socially and culturally sport is a powerful tool to a better life, at home and at work.

So dust off the runners, embrace the rain, add some pep to your step and some spice to your life!

Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body; it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.

– John F. Kennedy

Sport teaches you character, it teaches you to play by the rules, it teaches you to know what it feels like to win and lose – it teaches you about life.

Billie Jean King

Do you know what my favorite part of the game is? The opportunity to play.

Mike Singletary