Exercise is the most underrated form of medication when it comes to our minds. I used to think of exercise as a chore and not a privilege. I dubbed myself as ‘just not that sporty’. The problem with pigeonholing ourselves as ‘not that type’ is that we miss out on opportunities.
After taking up running in 2015, I completed my first marathon this year. What kept me going? The knowledge of those crucial and all natural feel good endorphins. The knowledge that exercise is not only great for our physical health but for our mental health. We can’t put a price on our mental wellness.
When I am out running or doing yoga I often get some of my best creative writing ideas. There is a close link between exercise and concentration, self esteem and a positive attitude to learn.
This week I was excited to attend the launch of Step, Scotland – a personalised physical literacy programme for children aged 7 to 13. It was moving to hear from Kenny Logan, ex farmer and international rugby player, about his battle with dyslexia and the lack of support provided when he was at school. I had a huge lump in my throat as Kenny talked us though his experience of choosing to swim when it would be so much easier to sink.
The education system has thankfully moved on, however our 1st minister has made it clear that advances in Scottish education need to remain a high priority.
Conor Davey, the Founder of Step talked us through some pretty impressive figures which were backed up by Professor Geriant Jones, the Dean of Education at the University of Buckingham.
94% of students felt able to concentrate better after doing the course for 12 months – 86% had improved reading skills and 70% improved at maths.
Step are collaborating with Microsoft – Liam Kelly, the GM of Microsoft DX was also a speaker at the launch. Our children are lucky to be growing up during such an exciting time, a time where technology is emerging by the day.
Kids all have battles to face -whether they be developmental, issues of self esteem or the ability to concentrate. Exercise helps.
What I found interesting is that the results show the course is most effective within school. Parents have tried it at home but the vast majority fail. To me this speaks volumes in terms of how much impact our teachers have on our children. They are shaping them for the future. They are working hard to teach them discipline and structure. To teach them new skills and to help them develop. Whist we can try our best at home, as parents we are always trying to catch up. The teachers job is to support the pupils, whereas as home we have so many jobs. I constantly have a voice of guilt in my ear that I like to call ‘perfect’ Mum. She tells me that I should be reading the kids more stories, doing more creative play. I should leave the dishes, the cooking, my emails and social media and give 100% to my kids. We all know that this is unrealistic.
Step has been a huge hit in the US and England and it’s our opportunity in Scotland to now embrace it. To me, the statistics speak for themselves. My opinion is that we ‘just do it’ Nike style.