Updated: Sep 21, 2020
Ahead of mental health awareness week, week beginning 18th May, I’ve decide I’m going to rualk* a marathon over this next month in aid of Mind, the national mental health charity. And hope inspire my family join me along the way.
Rualking is a self made term and it simply means running and walking. Other people call it High Intensity Interval Training (or HIIT). It means that you run (jog or run fast) for 1 or 2 minutes and walk (slow or fast paced) for 1 or 2 minutes. That might seem odd or lazy to some but research is actually finding that it’s healthier for the heart and brain, both of which need more variability than our sedentary lifestyles allow. Other ways to achieve this including doing a variety of circuit training type exercise in fast succession with breaks in between.
To put it bluntly, we’re not getting enough heart-brain variability when we’re sitting at a desk or laptop for extended periods of time hour after hour, week after week, and then at night relaxing in front of the TV or another screen. We know that sedentary behaviour is one of the biggest hidden health risks in the country and that is on the rise (https://www.nhs.uk/news/lifestyle-and-exercise/does-prolonged-sitting-really-kill-70000-people-year-uk/ ). Indeed it is also one of the reasons why obesity is on the rise, another big health issue linked to the significant rise of metabolic syndrome, which is a cluster of conditions increasing people’s risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke ( https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/metabolic-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20351916). Also from my own tests using my brain wave Focusband and mobile app, called NeuroSelfCare, I know that it is when I am walking, between the running, or when I am resting between the circuit training activity, that I experience a different blend of brain waves that are particularly healthy for me. Ones that are helping me to access feel-good neurochemicals and help me to reduce stress hormones like cortisol, which can accumulate in the system over time.
This might require some more explanation. We are electro chemical beings, which means that we have electrical waves or impulses that travel around our brain and body. These help with the movement and exchange of chemicals from Neuron to Neuron around our body, which in turn is the root to the way we think, feel and behave in certain ways. E-motions are energy (electrical waves) + chemicals in motion which = we feel a particular way + think + behave in certain different ways depending on the situation. Some types of brainwave and chemical blends are good for us and make us feel good and some of are not and make us feel bad now or if experienced all to often can be too toxic for us for too long, causing a negative impact on our wellbeing. So for example you might find yourself on a repeat daily cycle of working too hard, doing back to back long hours, plus doing home schooling and the cooking and house chores. Like us you may have a periods of exercise and other times squeeze it in with a tendency for it to drop off the daily agenda until you get back to it. I'm sorry to say that, we, as a family, find this lifestyle quite easy to do but I know it’s not healthy for our resilience or wellbeing, now or down the line, and more recently due to Coronavirus it’s become a critical issue.
We know that stress was on the rise anyway and now we're hearing that stress is on the rise again due to C19. We know that long term chronic stress has a tendency to engage our survival systems, the sympathetic nervous system becomes more active, creating Fight Flight symptoms which are varied but it short makes people vulnerable to mental, emotional and physical health problems. We also know it can suppress our immune system making us more vulnerable to infections and virus's.
One of the things we can do to address stress, among others ways, is certain types of HIIT exercise, to get the body moving, to get the heart pumping, to get the brain waves going and pushing those feel good chemicals around the system. When a vehicle hasn't been driven for a while the battery starts to lose its life and less oil is being pumped around the system causing other mechanical faults to happen. When brain waves are toned down there's less and less stimulating energy in the system over time. If there is limited blood flow in the human body there is less nutrients and oxygen getting round the whole system and inflammation can cause pockets of limited blood flow which start to starve those pockets of essential nutrients, in turn causing dis-ease.
So in short, lets get moving! Thats why I'm doing a marathan month at a time when we've been locked down and I'm doing it for charity....
Mind, the mental health charity, needs our help more than ever.
An unfortunate outcome from the trauma endured by coronavirus is a rise in mental ill-health. Having survived severe forms of the coronavirus is causing anxiety to sky rocket. Lockdown is causing loneliness and depression to sore. Loss of loved ones and colleagues is causing loss trauma. Key workers surrounded by the coronavirus unable to control it are feeling traumatised and anxious about contracting it and passing it to their loved ones.
As more of us start to feel the impact of coronavirus on our mental health, it is incredibly important that mental health charities, like Mind, have the resources to take action now.
Demand for their vital support and services will grow – and Mind, and other mental health charities and services, must be equipped to meet this demand. Not least through an expanded workforce to meet this demand but also for PPE for their 10.000+ strong staff up and down the UK.
However, many sources of fundraising have understandably been cancelled, including the closing of Mind’s own shops. So now more than ever Mind needs your support.
I do appreciate that we need to designate as much of our charitable funds for PPE to where is it is needed most and I hope the fund raising effort will serve 2 priorities: help Mind respond better to the rise in mental ill-health and also help protect their staff by funding their growing PPE needs.