A sound mind is not necessarily devoid of stress. An ever-present part of life, stress switches on the body’s nervous system and gives a rush of hormones and neurotransmitters, helping it to deal with whatever the stressor is.
During these anxious and unprecedented times, millions of people around the world are currently limited in how they train, exercise, work, play and see family and friends. But a healthy mind can motivate people to move. And when bodies move, minds will become optimistic, energised and clear.
Here five ASICS Frontrunners – all from different walks of life – offer some pieces of advice to help maintain a sound mind in a sound body.
Find positivity in the small things
Holly Rush, international athlete and 2:37:35 marathon runner
“Now might seem like the last time you would want to talk about being positive. The first week of lockdown coincided with the news that my dog Mole, my most loyal and best friend, has sadly got a very aggressive cancer and is slowly losing his battle. I made a conscious decision to turn my feelings around and take advantage of my time at home to spend happy times together. There is absolutely no point in feeling sorry for the past we have lost or the future we can't plan for, we can simply live in the present and savour the small things – from listening to podcasts, reading, running, gardening, or messaging friends.”
Don’t wait for motivation
Bernadette Dancy, health coach for stress and mental health
“It can be incredibly frustrating when you want to get fit or exercise but you just can’t find your mojo. The first thing you need to do is to stop beating yourself up about it. You’re not necessarily lazy. You’re just competing with far more enjoyable things that you’d rather be doing. Move knowing it probably won’t feel comfortable but also knowing that it does get easier and you will feel a real sense of achievement once you’re done. And remember: motivation isn’t a constant. It comes and goes. Don’t make the mistake of waiting for it.”
Appreciate your own company
Jamie Gane, lower-limb amputee judoka
“Humans tend to be social creatures, so the current climate can be particularly challenging. If you aren’t used to being on your own company, it can feel very strange and scary, but start by just taking some time to appreciate yourself. Run yourself a bath, do some reading or explore a new interest. If you find yourself having wandering thoughts, writing them down can really help – blogging, writing or whatever makes you happy. But it’s important to realise that appreciating your own company is not the same as appreciating being lonely. In the age of social media and support, remember to reach out if you are feeling lonely.”
Sarah Renshaw, architect and running coach
“I’m an introvert, so the recent news actually gives me a great excuse to be a lone wolf. But I also know how much being part of a running club has changed my life. I also know how being active is important for my mental health and of course how exercise and staying healthy is important for our immune system. The latest advice is to avoid physical social contact, but there is still plenty we can do to keep active and remain connected. Social media such as Instagram is a great platform for this, but we can also check in with each other, reach out, keep it live, and have conversations with a telephone or video call or group messages.”
Do digital workouts
Rachel Diver, designer
“For the time being, we are all riding solo. But, with modern technology, you don't need to feel shut off from the world. There are tonnes of options to make the most of the social side of exercising. Digital fitness is becoming more popular and can be accessed from anywhere and at any time. Using a running app like Runkeeper or Strava allows you and your friends to run solo and like, comment and give kudos on each other's activities. On other social media platforms, there are various 'tag a friend' challenges at the moment – which are a great way of staying connected with others.”