Physical activity is my feel good factor, whenever I felt down or stressed I would go for a run, to the gym or a long walk. Although sport has been seen to have great effects on mental health, but it is the balance between sedentary and activity that really makes a difference.
Until last year, I was obsessed with exercise, especially running. I would wake up early to go for a run before school, knowing well I had cross country at lunch and rugby training in the evening. It came to a point during my third year at university, that my body could not take it anymore. It came up as physical pain, and I had to say ‘No’.
For months I was unable to do even the smallest forms of physical movement, even walking gave me pain! After 6 months of this, I turned to my doctors for more medical help and that is when a fracture was discovered in my right neck of femur. This led to emergency surgery, leaving me with a metal rod and screws in my body.
So this brings me to the fact that the only thing that stopped me from doing physical activity, was myself. For so long I pushed myself to the brink, without the proper rest and nutrition.
As a teenager, growing up surrounded by the diet culture, I was made to feel that you could only be ‘fit’ if you coupled exercise with dieting.
For me, who started off at a ‘normal’ weight, it just created a toxic cycle which took 6 years to overcome, leaving me with a lot of weight to put back on and the task of mending my body.
The unfortunate experience of my hip surgery, was devastating. It took away the one thing I loved the most: movement. For the most part I felt that I lost my identity and was very weak. I was no longer the girl who could do and did everything.
Looking back now, I can see that it actually gave me a chance take a step back and, for the first time, rest.
I am now on a long journey to regain that again, this time with a completely different mind-set. This path has taught me to cherish myself and my body, as if you set your mind to it, you can do anything.
It is up to you to find your own balance, and what works best for your body and mind. For me this balance is found in allowing myself more rest, for someone else it could be incorporating less impactful exercise or nourishing your body instead of starving it. I have learnt that this balance is the key to being the best you can be, and that is when you can do anything.