What’s all the fuss about physical activity and mental well-being?As a counsellor, health coach and health promotion practitioner for the last decade- not to mention being married to a passionate chiropractor, I’ve learnt a thing or two about what works for people.
Firstly, let’s get something clear! Yes. I am a bloke. And yes, it does sometimes take a while for me to pick up on things and take notice of what’s good for me. I am also content in the knowledge that I am most definitely not alone in this regard.
Secondly, I am not going to give you a list of indisputable references so you can be reminded yet again of how important exercise is for you. I’m just going to give you a taste of my experiences in this area and leave you to it.Having sat with people struggling with all kinds of problems and applying many techniques of theory and practice, I think it’s fair to say that learning how to live a satisfying life is a wonderful thing.
We all find, more or less, our own purpose and direction in life. Our uniqueness is what we each channel to make it satisfying one. Some of us inextricably tangle ourselves up in our past and find it difficult to get any enjoyment out of life, while others seem to relish in a charmed life. At this point, I think it’s also fair to say that we are not all born equal and we don’t all have the same opportunities in life.
We’re creatures of habit, and often unconscious of too many of the investments we have in our habits. This unconsciousness often continues with behaviours that we outwardly perceive and describe to others as bad luck, or attributes we dislike about ourselves and are resigned to not being able to change.Now, I am certainly not going to tell you I have a magic wand and that if you just did some exercise you’ll be transformed. I’m aware not only in a personal sense (yes it did take me a while!) but through the many people I’ve worked with over the years that something magical does happen when we get out of ourselves and make what seems to be such a small step, but as we all know can seem more like a mountain. Be you an indestructible young – that’s all-about-someone-else kind of person, someone who just doesn’t have any time in their day, or just someone like me who gets so focused on what they’re doing, they forget the important things. Maybe you’re struggling with an illness or a complex emotional problem? Doesn’t matter what caper you’re in, if you do nothing else than just keep your body moving, you’ll be physically and therefore, mentally better off.
For many of us blokes who find it difficult to express how we feel, I’ve lost count of the number of different techniques that have worked for getting men moving and seeing a difference in the way they perceive things. A different creative outcome can allow us the hindsight to look back at a ‘stuck’ or problematic place and feel a little closure or understanding of how that change has come about.
For women, it is no different- and generally speaking, a little easier to express themselves emotionally than us fellas (yes I know it annoys me too, but it’s a fact!). However, women are not immune to the business and complexities of life that often create circumstances that seem to make it impossible to partake in regular exercise. I’ve seen many women create from movement, a renewed focus and direction in life.
Yeah, it seems a little naf to break it down to such a simple formula and it isn’t simple- but it’s a foundation that simply cannot be ignored. Even the simple act of sitting for prolonged periods is being linked to increased risk of poor health outcomes. You may think I’m referring to physical health outcomes, and yes it’s true. It is also, however, no longer deniable that our levels of movement and physical activity are directly related to our satisfaction and well-being in life.