I’ve been volunteering with my local high school mountain bike team for the past 2 months. Each week, I teach a hard, 90-minute, power-based indoor training session. Most of the kids are super-focused. A couple are a bit distracted. But all in all, we have a lot of fun together.
I like kids. I don’t have them and I’ve never wanted them. But I like them. They’re real. They’re honest. They don’t play games. They want to please you. And they love seeing results.
Tonight, a new girl joined the team. She’s the daughter of the head coach’s co-worker and I was told in advance that she’s never participated in sports, doesn’t really exercise, and suffers from depression. She was a trooper and jumped right in. It was really challenging for her, but she stuck it out and completed the workout.
After training, we all discussed upcoming events and all the boys (yes, we have all boys on the team, except one other new girl who wasn’t there tonight) introduced themselves and they all chatted and laughed together.
As we were leaving, she lingered a bit and then ran up and hugged me harder than I’ve ever been hugged. I thought she might cry. She told me that she had so much fun and had never felt the way she felt during and after the workout. I’m sure she didn’t know it, but she was experiencing that endorphin high that we all love.
I’m sure you’ve read articles that extoll the mental health benefits of exercise. Physical activity will improve your mood, your memory, and your cognitive function. As we age, it keeps us young. For the young, it can keep them focused and combat the symptoms of ADHD. For me, it relieves anxiety and depression. It calms me when I’m wired and lifts me up when I’m down.
It doesn’t take much exercise to yield benefits. 30 minutes a day will improve your life. The key is to make time for yourself on a consistent basis. And who knows, you might feel like hugging someone, too!