A client of mine was recently asked ‘what she was training for?’ Although we had a laugh about this, we were both pretty amazed by the question. Given the overwhelming evidence supporting the benefits of exercise we were surprised that some people are still of the mindset that exercise is for athletes training for an event or just a tool to help people lose weight and ‘look good’!
“Exercise is the miracle cure we’ve always had, but for too long we’ve neglected to take our recommended dose.” – NHS
Being active is hugely beneficial. There is strong evidence to suggest that physical activity can improve immune function, reduce inflammation, improve energy levels, prevent, and help manage diseases, improve brain health, strengthen bones and muscles, reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, reduce joint pain and stiffness, improve quality of sleep, the list could go on…
Being physically active is for life! We must move away from the old-fashioned opinion that exercise is for athletes or aesthetic reasons and realise that everyone, no matter their age, gender, ability, or disability, must exercise and not just for a few months of the year!
I decided to ask some of the Bounce Back Community about their reasons for exercising and what keeps them motivated. I felt so inspired hearing their reasons.
“I have never been sporty and was put off exercise for the last fifty-six years of my life by games lessons at school. I discovered that exercise could enable me to do things that I couldn’t do otherwise three years ago when I was looking to alleviate my Parkinson’s symptoms in lockdown. I exercise now to keep independent and to be able to do things such as getting out of the bath or reaching things on a shelf without needing help.”
“It was a bit of a nasty shock for me to find I couldn’t play tennis or hockey anymore. With MS my right side is significantly weaker, and I know that without the regular and varied exercise sessions I would slide down the slippery slope into a wheelchair. But that’s not going to happen because I love the exercise and the power it gives me over my condition. Far from tiring me out, I find exercise energises me. And that can’t be bad! 😊”
“I started exercising as I came to the end of chemo and radiotherapy. I found it to be a great distraction and gave me back a feeling of control over what was happening to me. Now, exercise is a part of my life and I miss it if it’s interrupted. It makes me feel looser and lighter, looser physically and lighter mentally. Setting and getting targets boosts my confidence and overall feelings of wellness.”
“Having always enjoyed exercise and fitness, my first thought upon being diagnosed with Parkinson’s was that I’d now be unable to return to playing football as I had been planning to do for several years.
To learn that exercise and activity is crucial for living well with Parkinson’s however, I very soon became much more active than ever before, with a positive attitude also leading me to undertake sports and challenges I’d otherwise never have taken up.
Exercise has become the most essential part of my life now, with all other activities, friendships and contacts coming from involvement in individual and team sports and experiences.
Nobody wants to be diagnosed with Parkinson’s, though I feel that with the happiness I’ve experienced in participating in PD-related exercise and fitness, I cannot imagine I’d be happier at this stage of my life if I’d not had this condition to spur me to do as much as I now do.
I intend to make the most of exercise opportunities as much as I can, for as long as I can.”
“I stopped playing sport when I was 48 because of arthritis. I stopped umpiring hockey in my early 60s for the same reason and I was just doing walking for exercise when prostate cancer was diagnosed at the age of 73. Of the various treatments, hormone therapy was the one which left me tired and weak and in search of an exercise class.
Beth is one of 4 hockey playing sisters. I reckoned that I could not improve on that so my search was over.
Bounce Back has helped my arthritis as well as making me fitter and stronger.”