While this may seem like a “sad state of affairs” due to the impact of their elite sport and the pressure that comes with it as a professional it can affect their mind with vile internet abuse and wide social scrutiny on every aspect of their lives, it reminds us all of the need to protect our mental well-being in preparation for life and also the need to rest or support when it comes to caring for our health.
Stokes has put her head in front of a finger injury, Biles has taken time out of several Olympics to take care of her mind to win another gold medal and even more athletes on the BBC BBC show, as well as a Recent BBC podcasts. brave enough to honestly share their personal stories of how sport and accompanying stigma can hinder your mental health.
England footballer Tyrone Mings has now spoken of his need for a psychologist to deal with the scrutiny he faced before the Euro.
Physical activity can increase endorphins, reduce the symptoms of mild to moderate mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression, providing us with more natural energy and mental clarity. Not to mention the fact that sitting for more than six hours a day during your free time increases the risk of premature death by 19 percent, not to mention it makes us fall, feel sluggish and tired.
However, many people struggle with physical inactivity, something that can also be the result of mental health and / or lifestyle problems, so it is always worth seeking appropriate support.
Conversely, over-training or ‘performance’ on a professional level can cause negative effects on the mind and body, such as over-training and acute stress on the mind and body, known as ‘adrenal fatigue’ which can negate any benefit. Not to mention the global pressure on athletes like Biles, Stokes and Mings to compete.
However, for me who is fully aware of this fragile balance between every extreme I have studied mental health along with my fitness and now yoga qualifications, which speaks to the need for approximation, viz. Not training or exercising yourself is about listening to what the mind and body needs: Something Biles has tried profusely by demonstrating tremendously her self-healing.
Back in 2013, for example. she withdrew from a domestic competition due to injury and attempting to overload herself. However, now in the tempting stream of many athletes dreaming of competing in the Tokyo Olympics, the American athlete has acknowledged the need to withdraw from the long-awaited competitions and even retain her world title.
Although I have never performed at such an intense level, even as a professional dancer, health coach, and sports fan, I too have felt the negative impact that adrenaline can have on our performance – from experiencing a “drop” before performance or even teaching a workshop.
Even the adrenaline needed to perform well, of the high kidneys, aka ‘buzzing’, of the show and how Biles learned the need to perform safely at our peak and then experience the fall after the show.
These intense waves of adrenaline can create addiction, as we seek high and forget the feeling of “coming down”. Hence my coping strategy of being busy with other activities before the performance and then aiming for my cup of tea and PJs in bed as I allowed myself introverted time to finish the post-show, instead of accepting invitations for party after.
Even in our daily lives as we flutter from task to task — excessive stress whether positive or negative can be detrimental to our well-being.
Sometimes a break is imposed on us through injury or illness. But every time we try and ’empower’ ourselves by neglecting ourselves.
I personally know so many instructors who lead a large group of classes every day and do not feel any added benefit from too much exercise and often feel a decline in physical fitness or general health.
Even for the everyday person, such stress at work or even during a HIIT class can lead us to gain or lose excess body fat through too much cortisol, lack of sleep and above all negatively affect our mind.
Our mental tests and exercises can be just as important to achieving optimal performance.
Our minds are our navigation systems that can warn us when our body is getting enough because too much adrenaline and focus on a performance can mask the way we feel physically. If we neglect our minds, our bodies, lives and careers suffer in the long run and are in danger even in the short term.
We live in a world where mental health is still a Cinderella service compared to investing in physical health, but hopefully these globally recognized athletes are turning off the beginning for all of us to recognize the value of including our overall health so to achieve our goals consistently.