by Mel Blackwood
Being active has many benefits - looking after our physical health, by keeping our bodies active is important. We have also long been championing the benefits of roller skating as an activity that supports mental wellness.
Why roller skating?
Well, it doesn't have to be roller skating (controversial for a roller skate organisation to say eh?) any physical activity that you enjoy will support both physical and mental health. You need to find an activity that
offers your brain and body the right level of challenge. Too easy and your mind will wander instead of supporting your body to learn the movements at hand. Too difficult and you will find getting started simply too far out of your comfort zone.
builds on the level of physical health you currently have. If you want to start running, but struggle to run for a bus, start with couch to 5k rather than enrolling for a marathon...
offers you the opportunity for social connection. What keeps you motivated are people. If there are other people having a go at the activity you are trying and you feel they are at a similar point to you, you'll have more mental connection. Feeling a sense of belonging is important to humans.
offers the opportunity to progress at your own pace. Particularly when you are learning as an adult, we seem to have more 'adult' priorities. Family life, friends, partners, pets, work (in no particular order) all make demands on us, so even though we know self-care should be number one on that list, who actually does that? (For some of us, self care priority is sleep, rather than activity). Feeling that you are missing out and everyone is moving on without you can be very de-motivating.
Activities that offer this?
Well anything that allows you to learn at your own pace - walking, bouldering, dancing, strength or flexibility training, yoga, cycling, swimming, skateboarding and of course roller skating. This is far from an exhaustive list, but you get the idea. An activity, that once you have mastered the fundamentals, will allow you to pick up the equipment whenever it suits you. An activity that serves you, rather than makes additional demands on your time.
You may notice that following a session of activity, you feel 'better'. Tired in the body, but refreshed in the mind. Your endorphins or feel-good hormones have kicked in and you want to do the activity more and more.
The only gremlin to be careful of is comparison. It's really easy to think that everyone is starting from the same place as you, but the reality is no-one else has the same set of experiences you have lived. Our progress in any activity cannot possibly be linear.
Look out for part 2 coming later this week, with a video tutorial!