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Wednesday 28 April 2021

The important role sport can have on both physical and psychological wellbeing

Posted by: Help For Heroes

In his role as Activity and Wellbeing Lead for Wales and Hereford, Nick helps wounded veterans enjoy sporting activities that support their recovery journeys. Having studied Sport Science at university, Nick has always understood the important role sport can have on both physical and psychological wellbeing.

“My role at Help for Heroes is to promote sport and other wellbeing activities as a method of recovery, and to help create tailored support to suit each veteran’s recovery needs,” he explains.

Nick says that those he works with are often unaware of what’s available to them or assume that their injuries mean they can no longer participate on sporting activities. His job is to remove those barriers and show veterans what they can do.

“Everyone is different - it’s my job to find out what works best for each person. Some may be keen to try a new sport and not know where to start, so I’ll help them find local, inclusive clubs they can join,” he explains. “Sometimes this means finding clubs that offer adaptive sessions for those with physical disabilities. We work with partner agencies who welcome those we support to try anything from wheelchair rugby to adaptive yoga. I also carry out one-to-one exercise sessions with those who are learning to live with their disability or illness.”

Nick says he enjoys sitting down with veterans and helping them find out what they might be interested in trying, and what their recovery goals are. Some, for example, may be socially isolated and want to meet new people, so a walking session is a perfect opportunity for them to connect with others. Others are keen to get active and lose weight, so he might suggest a swimming class and organise for a swim coach to provide a training plan to support their goals.

“It’s my job to improve people’s confidence so that they no longer feel that their injury holds them back,” he says.

With all sporting activities put on pause during the lockdowns, Nick’s role has looked very different over the past year. Instead of being able meet with veterans and help them take part in face-to-face activities he, along with the rest of our Sport Activity and Fellowship Team, have worked hard to deliver support in a more virtual setting. Nick has been helping to deliver our digital Sports Recovery programme, which offers our wounded home workout sessions all geared toward improving mobility and fitness. He’s also been running virtual couch to 5k sessions, working with veterans to help set their exercise goals, and will be delivering the nutrition module for our Recovery College.

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