I have this crazy notion that exercise can be a force for good. Good in individual lives and in the world.
Crazy, but hear me out.
It can be a connector, with yourself and your body, with others and with a community.
Dance is a great example of this - especially things like Salsa, Ceroc, or Flamenco - you have to be so aware of what you are doing, of what your partners is doing - but when the connection with the music, the movement and your partner is right…it’s magic. And you become part of a wider community of dancers - beyond just your weekly class.
Or it could be martial arts where the mind body connection is so important and powerful. It could be team sports like hockey, netball, football, ultimate frisbee - where you really need to play, move and be part of a team connection to reach your goal. Competition is important here, and not everyone enjoys that, but for some it's a great motivator and being part of a team is a great way of feeling connected into a community.
And of course it could be a class where you move, connect and meet friends. It could be a yoga or pilates class where the connection with your body and breath can be powerful and meditative. Or an outdoor fitness class (hint hint) where you feel yourself get stronger, fitter and have a bit of a laugh along the way. It could be a walk, a run, a bike ride - on your own or with friends. Running communities like ParkRun are hugely social and supportive, as are many local running groups too, you don't have to be super fast to be a part of it. Cycling and walking groups are similar too.
Of course if you add in the outdoors you also add in that connection with nature, with the seasons, (and the weather), which can be so absent sometimes in our busy lives and so important. Just in case we lose it in the future.
If you feel more connected, you feel more confident, less alone, less anxious or fearful. You can go out there and seize your day, feel in control and able to face the challenges that life throws at all of us every day.
An then, of course, exercise is great for your health.
But in ways that go WAY beyond weight loss and cardiovascular health.
I am always keen to draw attention to the 2015 report Exercise the Miracle Cure, produced for GPs by the Association of Medical Royal Colleges. http://www.aomrc.org.uk/publications/reports-guidance/exercise-the-miracle-cure-0215/ - here they bring together research and recommendations on exercise to support prevention and recovery from cancer, prevention and support of diabetes, mental health improvements, chronic pain and fatigue, osteoporosis arthritis, high blood pressure, COPD, dementia…the list goes on. My favourite quote below:
“Exercise has been called a “wonder drug” or “miracle cure”. Increasing physical activity improves health for those with chronic conditions and prevents many common serious medical conditions. The health improvements with physical activity are often greater than many drugs.” (Exercise: The Miracle Cure and the Role of the Doctor in Promoting it, p 12).
See, it's a MIRACLE. It's better than drugs (well, it can be).
But I KNOW it can be hard to get started. I KNOW that there can be countless barriers, of time, cost, interest, motivation.
But there WILL be something out that that works for you and I want to encourage you to find it. You know that we, at Wild Country Woman will do our best to help you love exercise if you come to us…but we won’t force you to stay or guilt you into signing up if it’s not for you.
So, next time the sun shines on your desk at lunchtime head out for a 15 minute walk and let us know how you feel afterwards.