Get fit with David Vaux - why not try touch?

JPCT 28-07-12 S12300603X  Horsham Rugby Club, Hammerpond Lane. Touch Rugby tournament. Wizards (green stripes) v Wooden Spoons (multicoloured stripes) -photo by Steve Cobb
JPCT 28-07-12 S12300603X Horsham Rugby Club, Hammerpond Lane. Touch Rugby tournament. Wizards (green stripes) v Wooden Spoons (multicoloured stripes) -photo by Steve Cobb

Watching the world’s best athletes pushed to their limit at London 2012 is inspiring people up and down the country to try and get a little fitter.

So with that in mind, we have asked elite conditioning coach and registered osteopath David Vaux to explore some novel ways of promoting health and fitness in the local area over the next few months. First up for David is Touch - one of the fastest growing sports in the country now being played around Horsham.

My first port of call in my quest to find novel ways of getting fit took me to Wisborough Green, where the recently established Wizborough Wizards have become the first touch side in West Sussex affiliated to the England Touch Association.

They train from 7 to 9pm on Thursdays throughout the summer, and the session I attended was well structured, friendly and had a good mix of age and ability.

As most tournaments are mixed, female players are highly valued members of the team. The great thing about this sport is anyone can turn up, learn the basics and play.

Interestingly, touch is one of the only sports that mixed teams can compete at a local social level right through to international competition and representing your country.

Mike Gadd, chairman of the Wisborough Green touch club hopes others will follow their lead. He said: “We affiliated because we hope to encourage others to start their own affiliated Touch clubs.

“This year has been a great success so far and we have gained access to a higher level of Competition via our competing in regional tournaments organised by England touch.”

It seems that touch is indeed catching on in and around Horsham. August will see the start of a new mixed Touch rugby club at Horsham rugby club on Monday nights. Lizzie Bennett, senior member of Horsham Touch Rugby club said: “We will be training until October and will be entering social and more competitive touch competitions next year.”

Taking the lead from Wisborough Green it seems this new touch rugby club will affiliate with the England Touch Association and play properly regulated touch.

International touch competitions are usually played at Open, 30s, 35s, and 40s, men’s, women’s and mixed. Currently many of England’s teams are rated number one in Europe.

Originating in the Southern Hemisphere and now recognised as a sport in its own right, and thousands of people now play Touch in the UK.

Played on a 70x50m pitch, the emphasis is on running, passing and communication. Because of these factors and the fact that there is no tackling, the whole family can get involved with advancing age no barrier to playing.

Touch has a great number of benefits. The obvious one is that it’s much safer to play than contact rugby. Therefore its appealing to those currently playing rugby, those who can no longer play or those who have never wanted to play contact sport.

At a mixed social level expect to burn 200 to 300 calories per hour, and because of the nature of game play your metabolic rate will be raised for some hours after playing.

Touch seems to be being recognised as a great way of getting fit by more and more people with recent articles in several mainstream health and fitness magazines.

A player will improve agility, speed, general fitness and flexibility as well as hand eye co ordination.

In a nutshell touch is a sport which anyone can play because it’s a safe, fun and inclusive way to improve levels of fitness and health.

For more information go to EnglandTouch.com, WizboroughWizards.co.uk or Horshamrufc.com

David Vaux, conditioning coach and registered osteopath.