Today’s blog is all about how exercising can help you feel good and help Chrysalis.
Exercise as work
There is lots of information available regarding the physical benefits of exercise. A quick search shows me that to reduce my risk of heart failure or colon cancer I should get fit. Medical professionals want us to live longer and to be physically healthy. Boring! When I am feeling low I struggle to think positively about future me.
Mental wellbeing for all
Humans want to do fun things. We want to do things now. To get immediate rewards, see immediate benefits. Physical health is great but mental wellbeing is essential. Mental wellbeing is about looking after me now.
Perhaps this is a controversial view, but then I run a charity supporting trans, non-binary and questioning people so I am used to taking a different angle on reality.
Healthy relationships help you feel better
People come to Chrysalis to break down the barriers of isolation. To explore their authenticity and to connect with people as their true selves. Our counsellors and facilitators are skilled in building and maintaining healthy relationships. People come to their counselling sessions and the support groups stressed, anxious and sad and leave calmer, smiling, knowing they have been able to offload and be supported.
Not every counselling session or group session is easy, we all have some heavy lifting to do to improve our mental health sometimes but in general people leave feeling happier, more at peace, more connected and resilient than when they arrived.
Exercise helps your mind feel better
Physical exercise is the same. When you start you might feel low, it might be hard to motivate yourself but when you have finished that walk or ride your heart rate is up, you are more alert and you feel happier. Did you also know that when you exercise it makes it easier for you to connect with people?
I completed Couch to 5k last summer. It was essential to do something to get me away from the computer screen. Together with a long-distance running buddy we really did go from sitting on our respective sofas to running five kilometres!
The nine-week challenge took more like 12, with a few loops around while I built up the confidence to do the next series of runs. I had to force myself to break through the barriers of “not enough time” and “I hate running”. It was hard but having a goal, and a buddy, kept me motivated.
Exercise as pleasure
Each of those runs gave me a sense of achievement. Through my own hard work I increased my endorphins, reduced my cortisol (my old friend the ever-present stress hormone) and boosted my serotonin. I was not just banking up good health for the future but feeling good now.
Sharing the challenge with my friend gave me a sense of connection. Helped me to be with someone despite the lockdown rules and miles between us. That connection, and all those happy hormones, helped me to stay strong and carry on. My anxiety reduced and I had more thinking time.
The healthier the boss the better the charity
The clearer my mind the better I became at my job. I could think about other people’s perspectives, plan, and develop. I had the resource to get excited about new projects and the resilience to weather the uncertainties of 2020.
What was it that got me out, what pushed me outside my comfort zone? It certainly was not the “long term health benefits”. My motivating factor was the shared goal. Working out with a friend and getting outside.
Sharing the rewards
Get Fit for Chrysalis (#GF4C) this summer. We are encouraging everyone to get outside, to get a bit fitter, to shake off the lockdown blues and ease their anxiety. I want you to share the benefits of exercising as part of the Chrysalis community.
This year I want you to set, and achieve, your goals. I want to exercise with everyone because we all need some motivation.
At the Chrysalis Operations Meeting this morning I heard that we have already raised over £500 and have 10 people signed up for GF4C and that gave me such a boost. When I am pushed to the point of nearly giving up, I know that my fellow Get Fitters and sponsors are there with me. With your encouragement and support I know I can reach my target of running 73 miles before the 31st August.
What will you do?