Hear me Roar: how exercise helps wellbeing

Most of us understand that exercise is vital for wellbeing. The challenge is finding the time and space to do it! This is especially hard when you are caring for someone.

I used to goto the gym before work every day, for about 8 years. When I had Patrick, I lost that.

Initially I missed it and then I got into the routine of not going. Walks became a substitution and I thought that was enough, I thought I was okay.

My walks are spirited and I’m fast so in my mind I was still exercising. I would walk at lunch time, whenever I had the opportunity. Thinking I had found an alternative I lost track of what being at the gym and doing hard exercise meant to me.

Getting to the gym was more challenging as I had to fit this in around childcare and working commitments, not to mention being available for my husband.

A year into Richard’s diagnosis and treatment I felt in a place where I could take some time out and rejoin the gym.

Spinning became my focus because I wanted to get my heart rate up for a good cardio workout and also release the endorphins (you want to feel good too!).

The first class was at a gentle pace, I came away having enjoyed it and loved being back in an environment which had been such a huge part of my life.

My second session simply blew me away!

The instructor had set up such an amazing circuit. Towards the end he put some utterly empowering and motivating music on and powered us through with his encouraging words. What surprised me is what happened next.

I closed my eyes and absorbed the music. Pushing on and on all I could focus on was that moment. I was going to get up that hill, I was going to do that sprint and I was going to get to the end knowing I had pushed myself to the limit. Then it happened.

Flashes of the last 6 years flew before me and I realised pushing up that hill on the bike mirrored how I felt as a Rock. I pushed harder, I was going to do this! Then I heard myself suddenly let out what can only be described as an almighty ROAR! Then came a sudden flood of overwhelming tears, just for a moment and then relief. It felt spiritual.

During this time I continued to push. I was feeling all those years of tension, frustration and challenge come out of me in such an overwhelming rush!

I was not expecting it and I welcomed it. I needed it.

For me this highlighted 3 things.

  • As a carer you keep going, you never stop and you don’t allow yourself too. I hadn’t stopped in 6 years!
  • The power of being in the Now. The focus in my spinning session meant every other consideration in my life left me. My mind became silent, it was a moment of beauty.  
  • The power of exercise to release tension and stress.

I have proven to myself that my spirited walks wern’t enough for me, that I need more.

Having had that moment of utter clarity, realising the power of exercise and the power of being in the Now; I will not return to just walking.

I am going to continue to spin my way up that hill so that I can get out all the frustration, stress and frankly sadness. Only then am I able to come home and support my husband and child from a much more proactive and healthy state.

I hadn’t realised until that roar that I had lost myself!

In “The power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle, Eckhart states that people participate in adrenalin sports because it forces them into the Now.

I used to dive and I would agree, it does force you into the Now, especially a challenging dive. My spin forced me into the Now and it was a place I would like to continue to explore.

If you would like to know more about The Power of Now you can read our book review here.

For now, I am grateful for my moment of clarity and so very grateful to my instructor for giving me the opportunity to ROAR!

Does exercise help you? Please share in our comments how you have found exercise enhances your life, we would be delighted to hear from you. Thank you.

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