If the Olympics is successful in one thing, it’s inspiring people to be more active. It is the ultimate attraction – showing off almost every kind of individual (and team) sport that you can imagine.

When the Olympics is on, a lot of people use that as motivation to try their hand at a new sport for the first time – and this can only be a good thing. We need to be more active. Most of us barely get even 30 minutes of real physical activity per week – let alone the government guidelines. Sitting at desks all day is, almost literally, killing us. As our weight increases, so too does our risk of cardiovascular disease and metabolic conditions, and that is simply shortening our lifespan during a time when we could be living longer and longer thanks to the power of modern medicine.

You can get healthy by ‘going to the gym’, but playing sport is a much better option – it makes you more likely to stick with the physical activity, because it’s more fun – and because it’s something that you can be competitive at. You can make friends with your team mates, and you can always find fresh challenges. There’s no point going on the treadmill if all that’s going to do is leave you feeling bored. The activity that you are going to stick with is the best activity for you.

A lot of sports are offering people the chance to play for free for a few weeks to celebrate the Olympics, so why not give that a try and see if you can find something that you enjoy playing? You might find that you’ll have fun with something that you would never have normally considered. Fencing, for example, isn’t something that a lot of people try – nor is synchronized swimming, but these are great exercises and they’re also amazing conversation starters for your friends, so why not give them a try?

Even if you aren’t normally sporty, or you don’t think that you could get good at something like that – you might surprise yourself. Sometimes, it’s just taking part and having fun that is all that you need in order to suddenly, one day, get good at whatever it is that you’re playing. There could be an athlete in your heart, hiding away somewhere!