April Meet-Up. Exercise. Play x

The Importance of Exercise and Play for our body and minds...........

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This months meet-up was all about taking care of our bodies and minds with regular exercise. Exercise for most (and previously for me) gives a sense of dread and boredom, with thoughts of running no where on a treadmill or trying to remember all the moves at body combat and ending up face flat on the floor! Exercise has to be enjoyable because as well as mending and nurturing our bodies it should also calm our minds (not make us stressed). I wanted to show how exercise can be fun by linking it to play. Its important to connect with our inner child every now and then and allow ourselves to be carefree. When children play outdoors they run around, skip, play football, play chase, do cartwheels and just generally have fun - so take inspiration from kids and go and play and keep fit at the same time.


I found this clip of a girl playing in a central New York park, her parents put a webcam on her head so they could see the world through her eyes (its so cute!) - myblocknyc-and-a-5-year-old-rock-the-playground . It shows how amazing it is to be carefree <3

Taking care of our bodies is one of the 10 Keys for Happier Living "Our body and our mind are connected. Being active makes us happier as well as being good for our physical health. It instantly improves our mood and can even lift us out of a depression. We don't all need to run marathons - there are simple things we can all do to be more active each day. And we can also boost our well-being by unplugging from technology, getting outside and - importantly - making sure we get enough sleep!" (Action for Happiness).

I need scientific evidence........

"Scientists have discovered that exercise makes your brain release chemicals that make you feel good - the same chemicals that you get from antidepressants. For mild depression, research shows that physical activity can be as good as antidepressants or psychological treatments like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)" (Young Minds).

How much exercise do we have to do?

Research indicates that low intensity aerobic exercise, for 30 - 35 minutes, on three to five days per week for 10 -12 weeks, is optimal for improving moods. Research shows that even short bursts of 10 minutes' brisk walking outside increases mental alertness, energy and positive mood states." (Psychologies Magazine).

So how can can I make it fun?

The most important thing is you find a form of exercise that you enjoy! Play and Exercise should go together, here are some fun ways to exercise -

- Find an adult playground! There is an outdoor gym at Chelmer Park, exercising in the sun means you can get fit and a tan at the same time (nice)

- Join a team sport like the Chelmsford Roller Derby Team Killa Hurtz - I really want to do this (possible meet-up??)

- Be a kid again! Get a space hopper, skipping rope, basketball, play rounders with friends, run like Pheobe from friends, do a kart wheel and most importantly dont take yourself too seriously!

- Do a treadmill dance! This guy is brilliant at it -


Question Time - Psychologies Magazine set some questions for us to discuss at each meet-up, here are our answers :)

1) When was the last time you really enjoyed exercising?

We have a very active bunch at CHP which great so we all had a nice discussion about the exercises we enjoy doing. Christina has joined a rowing team, Jo is in a netball team and plays every week, Paula said she used to love playing badminton with her husband and I have started to go running once/twice a week which I strangely enjoy and I also love my yoga lesson every week. Nam (my yoga teacher) has an amazing passion for yoga and enjoys practicing yoga every day.


2) How can you build more exercise into your life?

As we are were all so great at our exercise we discussed signing up for a charity fun run/walk as a team to raise money for a good cause (exercise & kindness combined x). Ideas needed...................... Ps don't forget I am doing the 10K for Race for Life - donations needed (your act of kindness for the day - hint hint)


3) What steps will you make to exercise more ?

We are all going to keep up our good work! We said we would support each other with our sports to give each other motivation - Jo needs cheerleaders at her netball tournaments and we will support Christina at her rowing race in September! We discussed how team sports help motivate us as there is a sense of comradeship. I also think having a goal helps people to exercise more, I am doing the 10k Race for Life, so my goal is to complete the 10 k and raise money for a great cause at the same time.

Putting more exercise into our lives should not mean having to find time in our already busy lives; a 10 minute brisk walk, bike ride to work or taking the stairs rather than the lift will help! :)

4) How will you make exercise more fun?

We put this question into action and went to the Adidas basketball court in central park to shoot some hoops - it was a laff! Here is our vid (made by Nam and Steve x) please check it out!


So no excuses - go & PLAY! x

Great links -



http://www.wired.com/2013/04/google-bikes/ (google conference bikes - v funny)

Donna Booth

Chelmsford Happiness Project