Having joined a new women’s health and fitness group in Dublin, Christine Allen is waxing lyrical about the benefits of exercise to her mental health.
It’s January, so no matter how into health and fitness you are, it’s likely that you’ve been bombarded by the concept in some shape or form.
Weight-loss leaflets, attractive gym membership rates, quit-smoking advertisements and television shows featuring members of the public who would like to shed the pounds… come the first month of any year, fitness and health is well and truly on the agenda.
Yet due to this annual ‘get fit’ noise, we can tend to overlook the true meaning of fitness and health, associating it with fad diets and looking good, as opposed to feeling better.
For me, fitness is more than just a seasonal buzzword. It’s not only about goal setting, or a challenge to learn a new skill, it’s also a method of channeling negative emotions so that they cease to overwhelm me.
While statistics reveal the correlation between mental fitness and exercise, nothing can prepare you for the therapeutic benefits that stem from pulling on a pair of Nike’s and pounding the pavement when you’re feeling stressed, anxious or low.
What fitness and health brings to me is confidence. Whether this is due to mastering a jab combination with a trainer after a dozen attempts, or high–fiving a friend after I’ve played a helpful role in her successful shot at goal, physical activity undoubtedly improves my self-image.
Just before Christmas I was delighted to become involved with the LGBT women’s health and fitness group, featured on meetup.com. Set up last November by a woman named Karina to promote fitness, sport, health and mental wellbeing via exercise, it’s not only the perfect tonic to those January blues, but a social group for the whole year round.
With over 100 members and counting, to each of which fitness and health means something different, our meet-up is steadily growing. Our events to date involve jogging and cycling clubs, yoga, after-work gym workouts across the city centre, and boxercise.
We have big plans for the Spring/Summer, with paintballing, mountain biking trails and Go Karting on the agenda, and are open to suggestions for any activities that get the heart racing! If you are interested in making fitness and health work for you, and meeting likeminded girls along the way, check out our page here.
All levels of fitness are welcome!