September 20, 2020

How exercise can support major life changes

South Wales Life Coach, Jason Bishop, explains why rediscovering exercise is so important in overall wellbeing
As a life coach who works with people who want to make life changes, I always adapt the advice I give to suit the client.
However, I understand the connection between the body brain and mind. So, after not exercising for two decades, there is one major step that really helped support my own journey and which I have seen support others time and again through their major life changes. That step is undertaking regular physical exercise, and it’s something I recommend to anyone wanting to make life changes.
Competitive sports, such as basketball or tennis can be useful in achieving health and learning how to work with a team, but to help cultivate self awareness, build mental and emotional resilience, and improve your physical wellbeing, exercises where the participant is only competing against himself can be truly transformative.
For me, always feeling the need to be first, always striving to be number one, having grown up with an invisible chip on my shoulder, a team sport would have nurtured all the things in me that needed to change instead of challenging them.
For my journey, the transformative change that continued after me leaving hospital came through cycling.
A friend introduced me to the sport, and I discovered a real love for it while I was learning to even like myself and tackle the years of grief and pent up anger I was working through during recovery. My personal demons had been channelled through alcohol, and cycling gave me something positive to do while I worked through them.
Initially, there was a need to compete, to be seen as being fit and strong. The competition, wasn’t necessarily against an individual either, I found myself competing on social media. There was still an underlying fear of not being good enough, and I’d almost died.
After making the decision to face that fear, riding from Barcelona to Monaco, and taking on Mont Ventoux, my life again changed.
I didn’t need to be the best, I wasn’t racing. I felt free, only in a race against myself and where I could allow myself to just be, to just accept the feelings that came as I pedalled.. I could pedal harder as I worked through anger, I could ride at my own gentle pace and just enjoy the view, both were therapeutic.
Often, out riding on my bike, having time to reflect, insights would come to me and so would the answers – and I became more fit, healthier on the inside and the outside. It’s something I’ve continued ever since, if you read my blog, you’ll see the amazing new adventures I have had and how exercise has helped me to continue my journey.
I’ve spoken to others who have found a similar experience through taking up running, or walking. While exercise may generally be good for your health, there really is something special about doing an activity outdoors, where nature can bring it’s own healing, feeling the wind on your back, sometimes the warmth of the sun and at others, the pitter patter of raindrops.
I was once a very angry person, and if anyone had yelled at, or I believed talked down to me, the rage would have flowed at some of the names I have been called… not only has cycling helped me turn my life around, it’s also helped me realise how far I’ve come. A fellow cyclist smiled, when after a driver had hurled abuse at us as he drove past, I said “he’s really stressed, he needs this feeling of freedom we get on our bikes.”
I went from being at death’s door to living an abundant life, and exercise played a huge part in helping me create that. I sometimes even invite my clients to come cycling with me! I guess the point of this is that life change is possible and easy for anyone to start. If you aren’t quite ready to call a life coach, get out and start exercising in the fresh air. Walk, run, cycle. Do it for 30 days, build some resilience and build a relationship with yourself.
If you really want to get your life moving, get your body moving – and call me if you need support.
You can learn more about Jason’s work on his website and blog: https://contentedlifecoaching.com/blogs/