Mental Health and exercise … Women in Sport
World Mental Health Day is a good day to look back on last week, which was Women in Sport Week (these designated days and weeks come thick and fast).
Physical activity cannot be overestimated as a method of sustaining or repairing mental health. (There are many people who need to find a balance because their condition involves too much exercise, but they nonetheless need some). I don’t think I am alone in finding that my posture changes and I move differently according to my mood. There are times when moving even a little bit seems beyond me: at its extreme, this can mean not wanting to get out of bed or off the floor. Try this: start where you are by clenching and releasing your fists then stretching your arms a bit. Point your toes and release them a few times. Then roll your legs over to one side and your shoulders towards the other. These little exercises are powerful. You might find that if you repeat this cycle a few times you can get up onto your knees and your feet. Then you can get your phone and ring someone. Or you can get out of the door and walk for a minute or two. You will have broken the petrificus totalus spell.
When you are well enough, you can join in with a shared exercise program or a sport. This takes courage because it involves meeting new people and exposing your physical, mental and emotional vulnerability. I don’t need to go on about flying trapeze and how I’ve cried and shaken but pushed through until I’m laughing and feeling invincible. If you know me or you’ve read my blog you’ll have had enough of trapeze talk. What I will say again, however, is how special CCYC is. This is a place where hundreds of women of all ages take part in sport and exercise. It is a dynamic, exhilarating place that empowers people to live their lives to the full. It’s good to see the Welsh Assembly and Westminster discussing women’s sports facilities. But it’s somewhat perverse that in the very week that awareness was being raised, CCYC was hit by the threat of closure. When something works, and works as powerfully as this, it would be absurd to let it go.