So I started a column about mental health and am now immediately talking about physical exercise, I am so sorry it just had to happen and I felt it was best to get it out in the open as quickly as possible.
The good news is that you don’t have to run a marathon…or even join a gym to reap the mental health benefits of a little bit of movement.
But first we must start by acknowledging that you have in your possession the most amazing and complex thing known to mankind in the whole of the universe, and it is sitting on top of your shoulders, and of course it is the human brain.
And the Human brain loves it when humans move, whether it is having a dance in the kitchen when no one is looking, or walking through the streets of Lithgow admiring blossoms and trees or if you are so inclined popping down to the Gym for a bit of cardio trivia, it is all good.
There has been a lot of research done by lots of very clever people who talk about neurotransmitters, dopamine, serotonin and endorphins, words that I could pretend to know more about than I do but the bottom line is your wonderful brain will send happy hormones throughout your body the more you move it.
I know it is hard to get moving when you are a bit low, depressed or numb, but set yourself a goal, even if it is just getting yourself off the sofa and collecting the mail from the letterbox, and when you have achieved that first goal it is very important to give yourself a pat on the back, your amazing brain thrives on positive feedback as well as the physical activity itself. Scientific studies again and again prove that exercise helps reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, depression, PTSD and ADHD…so be kind to your mind and get a wiggle on.
(If you haven’t exercised for a while, have a chat to your doctor and get some advise about other ways to improve your mental health while you are there)
I had a chat to Andrew Neville from Ant’s fitness in Portland in between asking a lot of sweaty smiley people trivia questions about Motown music he managed to answer a few of my questions.
· Who are the people your organization was created for?
ANT Fitness was created for the whole community, people of every age and socioeconomic background can come and get fit and importantly have fun…there is no age limit, ‘seniors’ are some of my most dedicated customers.
· Can you share an example of how individuals have benefitted from attending the gym?
I have seen people’s self-esteem and self-confidence grow, and from that they have made changes in their life direction, for example they feel confident in taking on new jobs. Friendships are formed; health is improved and weight often reduced.
· What strengths do you see revealed in the people you have supported?
I have seen people change to a more positive outlook not just in their health but to life in general; People making awesome lifestyle changes which can benefit them forever; I see people who have been shy gaining confidence and being able to talk to people from all different ages and backgrounds
· Why did you choose to train in this sort of work?
I have always had a passion for fitness and health, and to be able to have the opportunity to not only change someone’s day but their life is a blessing
· How do you look after yourself?
I practice what I preach. I live an active lifestyle, along with healthy balanced eating.
· What lessons have you learnt from your work?
Persistence is probably the number one lesson and to continually evolve what I am offering, and of course FUN, it has to be fun.
· What is the most valuable piece of advice you would give to the readers right now?
The hardest step is the first one, to actually begin. Take the first step you won’t regret it. But you will regret not taking it.
· What are the ways that people can connect with you?
Through my new website, Instagram or the more old fashion phone call and my favourite face to face.
Remember you can get mental health support by talking to your gp or phoning one of the many phone support services.
Mensline Australia 24 Hour phone advice 1300 789 987
Beyond Blue 24 Hour advice 13 00 224 636
24 Hour Mental health Access line 1800 011 511
Lifeline Australia 24 Hours 13 11 14
(Crisis support and suicide prevention)