Colin Aherne propositioned me (quite spontaneously) on Twitter on 2nd January to take part in 5k a day for Jigsaw Kerry and the Donal Walsh Foundation. But as my filming schedule was extremely busy and being the mother of two sons (one in primary, one in college)I really didn’t feel it was something that I could commit to everyday ‘timewise’. Then Greg Starr (a guy I grew up with in Tipperary Town)also got in touch that same day and told me that he’d be willing to give up meat for the month of January if I agreed to join their 5k a day. Well, as a huge animal lover (and indeed vegetarian myself for the last nine years) I then knew I was going to have to find a way and the time to do this challenge because I would not only be walking for mental health, I would be walking for animals and the environment too. And in that very moment it occurred to me that I could definitely commit to 5k a day if I broke it up into a couple of shorter walks.
So I started on 3rd January (which means I don’t finish my 31 days until my 5k has been completed on 2nd Feb.) And as I’m an Ambassador for Pieta House I decided to pledge the same time and donation to Pieta.
I didn’t quite realise how much I needed this challenge and motivation in my life until I had begun. I’ve been walking to and from work ever since, even on the mornings when my clock was set for 6am. And despite the colder, wetter days, when perhaps I woke feeling somewhat reluctant to embark on the 5k ahead, I always felt glad when I pushed through that reluctance. The reward always lies on the other side of the 5k and you feel replenished and revitalised and feel a sense of accomplishment. So it really doesn’t matter if you complete it by doing two 2.5kms a day, or three 1.66kms a day, you still meet your target, it still boosts serotonin levels, improves all round circulation and combats any stress or negativity that you’ve been holding in your body. Exercise instantly improves mental clarity, brings new perspective, supports problem solving, alleviates physical and emotional tension and promotes brain cell regeneration. Exercise is one of nature’s most effective anti-depressants and it’s absolutely free. Of course we all know that when you’re feeling down, bleak or depressed the last thing you feel like doing is exercise. Maybe the word exercise is synonymous with ‘effort’, an effort you don’t really feel you can make when you’re at a low point in your life. Yet if you were to just decide “I’m going to ‘move more’ today” then it would feel like a less arduous task to an already tired mind or body.
I’m going to continue to exercise throughout the month of February. I don’t want to lose the momentum (or the tone!) The benefits far outweigh the ‘seeming’ inconvenience of that time dedicated to exercise every day. We might not think we have an hour (or even half an hour)to spare yet we wouldn’t think twice about using that time to watch TV or scroll mindlessly through social media.
Sometimes we need to step away from our comfortable routines to find new balance and persepective. I certainly found it and I feel all the happier & healthier because of it.