If you’re feeling a bit off, having trouble sleeping or finding that you’re losing your cool with the kids a lot more than usual, there’s a good chance you’re not getting enough exercise. Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can work more movement into your routine without sacrificing that much needed time with your family. From fun dance workouts, acroyoga and martial arts to sports and family wellness programmes, here’s how you can give your mental health a boost and have fun with your family all at once.
Exercise: A natural mental health booster
Beneficial for both the body and mind, physical activity is a natural mood-booster. It has been proven to reduce stress, improve memory and concentration, and increase self-confidence.
But, while we’ve known these therapeutic benefits for some time, recent research suggests that exercise can actually cause certain neurobiological changes that help in coping with mental health challenges. There is even research that supports the efficacy of exercise as a form of mental health management in its own right.
This is good news, especially given that there’s still a stigma around talk therapy and taking medication for mental health disorders. And, with an alarmingly high suicide rate here in Singapore, particularly in kids and teens, it seems that sport and exercise as a form of treatment can go a long way in helping both adults and kids who are reluctant to try medication or talk therapy.
Supporting mental wellness with movement
This is the very idea behind Elevate Athletic Wellness, a new sport and fitness provider focused on mental health and promoting family wellness. While getting active is certainly a goal, enhancing mental wellness through physical activity – and achieving that feel-good factor – is the priority.
Affiliated with The Center for Psychology, Elevate Athletic Wellness is the first and only sports and wellness centre in Singapore to offer fitness programmes guided by certified instructors who are trained psychologists or have experience working with clients with special needs, including adults and children with ADHD, ADD, social anxiety, depression and eating disorders.
Open to individuals, groups and families, programmes are designed to get your body moving and improve your skills. They can even be tailored to your needs and goals. It’s also an opportunity to spend time with your partner, children and friends – and try new things.
7 ways to boost family wellness with exercise
Here’s a look at some of Elevate’s family wellness offerings, and what you can expect from each.
A combination of yoga and acrobatics, Acroyoga is a great way for parents and kids to build strength and flexibility, at the same time fostering a sense of trust and creating an emotional connection. Acoyoga involves one parent lying on the ground supporting a child with his or her feet. Meanwhile, the other parent acts as a spotter to ensure the little flyer lands safely. It’s a sure-fire hit for any little one in your life!
Not only is this fun dance workout a solid hour of exercise, but it’s also a great opportunity to have fun and move your kids, and even learn about different dance genres. Plus, the entire fam can flex their creativity muscles and work as a team to choreograph fun dance sequences!
If you’re looking to get social, break a sweat and push yourself out of your normal pop-rock comfort zone, you’ll want to try African dance fitness – a high-energy sweat session set to rhythmic music from across sub-Saharan Africa. It’s another fun dance workout that’s guaranteed to get those endorphins going!
Played between opponents in singles and doubles, badminton’s a great sport for building social skills. It’s also great for building resilience, focus and think-on- your-feet skills. For these reasons, Elevate’s badminton programme is particularly popular for ages eight to 25, with competition training available, too.
More than just an excellent full-body workout, tennis is a social sport that requires focus and strategy. So, while you’re getting in some serious cardio, your mind will be focused on the court, not on your latest work assignment.
Open to both kids and adults, this tennis programme teaches technical and tactical skills, and breathing techniques and other coping strategies that can come in handy off the court as well.
#5 Martial arts
Martial arts training offers countless physical and mental health benefits. For kids, it’s especially useful, as it teaches perseverance, focus, mindfulness, respect and self-discipline.
Open to children from the age of four, Elevate’s karate programme offers 45 minutes of movement and mental focus, and a chance to exercise those social skills. There’s also a family-friendly kickboxing class that serves as the perfect stress buster while you torch calories and tone up.
#6 Functional fitness
Functional fitness training is designed to strengthen the body to perform everyday activities like climbing the stairs or lifting objects with less risk of injury. The whole idea is to train the muscles to work together for real-life movements. This way, muscles are conditioned to perform properly each and every time. Getting in and out of squats as you move wet laundry from the washer to the top dryer is a good example of this!
Functional fitness sessions are a great way to sweat and get social, build endurance and boost mobility. Plus, knowing your muscles have gotten all that practice can take some stress out of your everyday activities!
#7 Sport psychology
Athletes feel better and perform at their best when they’re in a good headspace. Goal setting, visualisation and self-talk techniques are among some of the key tools sports psychologists use to get them there. Whether you want to up your game as an athlete, crush your pre-game jitters or facilitate better team-building skills, Elevate’s sport psychologists can help. They work with both teams and individuals to meet their goals and achieve mental wellness results.
Learn more at elevateathletic.com.sg.
This article first appeared in the August 2022 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!