Being Physically Active

2nd Pillar of Wellbeing

Exercise has a positive impact on both our physical health as well our mental health and is therefore an important pillar of wellbeing.

This may not come as a complete surprise - particularly coming from yoga teachers, that like to keep active in all sorts of ways. It's still worth explaining to provide a broader context on the matter I think.

The photo below is wonderful example of this; on a recent visit to see our family in the US we took a hike in a local state park in Utah. Of course the fresh air was wonderful but we also got to experience some wonderful scenery (jumped in a lake - obviously), whilst also spending some cherished time with the family....as the quote below suggests. the experience was more than just the physical act of being active.

Physical Benefits Of Being Active

Physically, it need not be an intense workout, but the fact that you are getting moving will help raise the heart rate, burn fat and stimulating better blood circulation around the body.

Any form of exercise will release endorphins that can help reduce depression and anxiety.

Stretching or walking are low impact ways to keep active. Trying to reach 5000 steps a day can be both achievable and need not take up lots of time or money.

Personally, I also use the opportunity of exercise as a way of getting outside to feel the elements around me- be it hot, cold, wind or rain; it just helps me feel more connected and varies the work out experience.

Similarly the act of doing exercise is a great way to get away from the desk top (or whatever it is you are doing0 to give your self some head space. Many a time, I've had a new thought or gained a different perspective on a situation. I personally like to run without music or podcasts playing so that I can let me mind wonder or try to process whatever is going on.

Some tips on becoming more active

  • Try to set a regular time to do the exercise
  • Start small and build up over time
  • Do it with friends and commit to do it with them
  • Find a local group to join
  • Do what you enjoy!
Exercise not only changes your body, it changes your mind, your mood and your body.


Mental Health Benefits Of Being Active

From a mental health perspective, doing the exercise with someone can provide the interaction that is equally important for our mental health. (Remember the 1st Pillar of Wellbeing - Connecting with others?).

From a mental health perspective the act of being active can help reduce anxiety, depression or negative moods whilst also improving an individuals self esteem and cognitive function.

Take a moment to think about a time when you got out and did some exercise and the buzz you felt afterwards (even more so if the weather wasn't great).

Have you thought about

  • Walking to work or at lunch
  • Integrate your exercise into your daily habits - like your daily commute
  • Setting yourself a goal - steps per day for example
  • Sign up to do the Coach to 5km maybe (or event that interests you)
  • Join a class if you want to try something new
  • Go up the stairs rather than take the lift

You may notice that none of these suggestion require a significant change in your existing routine? We like to suggest ways to make small changes in our daily routine that can make a difference.

Being (And Staying) Active

Below are a few tips on ways to start and keep being active.

  1. Do something you enjoy - you are more likely to stick at it -swim, dance, ride, walk - there's plenty of choice
  2. Join a club to give you a sense of community- sports, dance - whatever interests you!
  3. Learn a new sport to gain a new skill and potentially meet new people
  4. Do the activity with someone - it's social and can keep you motivated
  5. Keep moving - try standing at your desk for short periods through the day

Remember that the 1st Pillar of Wellbeing was 'Connecting with Others' - you may have noticed that some of the tips to stay active revolves around doing the activity with other people. Joining a group, or making a weekly commitment to go walking with someone means that you being physically active whilst also connecting with others.

As you'll see with the remaining pillars of wellbeing - they do not sit in isolation, but rather overlap more often that not. I like to think of the 5 Pillars of Wellbeing as a framework to help ensure that I maintain a positive wellbeing. When I have gone back to review my own sense of wellbeing I have on occasion noticed if one of the pillars isn't quite present in my daily routine.

To recap you can read our previous blogs