Wow ... it's been a while since the last blog post! I've been thinking about trauma and exercise a lot recently so here's a small intro to this important topic.
Did you know around 1 in 3 adults in England have reported experiencing at least one traumatic event and so it is clearly an important topic that affects a lot of us.
But what actually is trauma? We define it as the response to a deeply distressing event caused by both physical and psychological factors. We all know exercise is good, but do we know how good? Exercise is beneficial for us all in improving our quality of life ... even if waking up at 6 AM to go for a run really doesn't seem like it! But for people dealing with trauma and stress activity exercise is key in the path to recovery in building vital motivational skills.
Psychological trauma, for example, PTSD (long term effects) or emotional shock (short term). For people experiencing PTSD, low motivation and engagement in unhealthy behaviour is common which affect routine and discipline. We all know the struggles of regular exercise so as you can see trauma will impact your ability to regularly move. On the flip side, exercise manage trauma as it such a great way to tackle low energy and destructive habits.
For everyone, mental and physical health is linked, but for people struggling with trauma this link is even stronger. Bad physical habits will compound the stress and depression, but on the other hand, good physical habits are essential in living a more relaxed and healthy mental life.
Injury trauma directly affects our ability to exercise as well. Blunt trauma (getting hit by a car) and penetrating trauma (deep wounds) are caused by forceful impacts on the body and so for these people, mobility is compromised for a while. But, as I said earlier, the link between physical and mental health is evident and for physical trauma patients, low-intensity physical activity can help in the recovery from the injury. Small routines like muscle stretches and yoga are effective in the rehabilitation process.
Note - Before starting anything, you should always get approval from your medical professional - physically, it rarely ends well if you don't!
A regular exercise routine and a healthy lifestyle go hand in hand. Physical activity stimulates your brain chemicals to make you feel more confident and less anxious. But one of the best benefits of exercise can be the social aspect, something that directly tackles the isolation tendencies present in trauma sufferers. It is great to see people connect in the supportive and energised surroundings, allowing their mind to relax from the constant stress it is experiencing.
For many trauma sufferers, socially adjusting and redeveloping personal relationships can be tough. I've seen that having even just a regular weekly exercise class you attend with the same people is so valuable in rebuilding those connections again.
BEST EXERCISES FOR RECENT TRAUMA SUFFERERS:
...where the focus is on relaxation.
These exercises are super relaxing and lower your breathing rate to a slow, calming level. The idea of repetition and predictability should be taken into consideration when coming up with exercise programmes for trauma sufferers as this builds confidence and self-belief which is always great! (Get in touch if you want some support with this)
Dealing with trauma is understandably a hard process, but doing exercise that works for you definitely helps. A healthier you (both mentally and physically) is always around the corner!
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