I have been selected to take part in a photography exhibition project supporting Lifeline WA.
My story highlights how fitness enriches the mind and the body.
Here is my story:
Being physically active has always been an important part of my life; but my relationship with it has changed over my 40 years. As a child I joined my father and sister on bushwalks and participated in team and individual sports. At this early stage of my life, exercise was all about having fun, being with family/friends and enjoying competition with others. As I got older my interest was spurred on by the desire to look a certain way; striving for some ‘ideal’ of what the female body should look like.
The focus on the pure aesthetic benefits of exercise had a negative impact on my life. People might think that being ‘addicted’ to exercise could never be a bad thing, but believe me it can be. I would train when injured or sick, missed out on social/family events/work to exercise, exercised to punish myself for perhaps eating too much or having a crappy day and over trained to the point of mental and physical exhaustion.
Thankfully, with age comes wisdom and now my attitude to exercise is far more positive. Yes, I still exercise to have a fit looking body, but the functional strength of my body is far more important. Yes, I will exercise if I’ve had a crappy day but it’s more about doing something that I love, rather than doing it to punish myself. Yes, I very rarely have ‘rest’ days, but I’ll choose to take a casual walk or go to a yoga class rather than pushing my body to the extreme.
The importance of exercise in keeping me mentally fit and well is huge. I have experienced a number of episodes of mental illness over the last 10 years and have a diagnosed depression and anxiety disorder. Exercise is a key part of my health regime, along with a healthy diet, positive relationships in my life, stress management and a good night’s sleep.
Exercise has so many physical benefits, and these are well known, but for me the emotional and spiritual wellbeing that comes from exercise is something I value greatly.