Welcome to the website for Oficina da Capoeira, Chichester.

Currently the group is on a brief hiatus whilst the instructor takes a break to settle in with his new born second daughter.

Classes will return, watch this space!

Friday, 20 May 2016

Depression, exercise and capoeira

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week.

This year's theme is relationships, and we'll come to that soon. First we'll start with exercise and depression - but read on, this is not another post telling you to go and exercise if you're depressed.

It's well known that exercise is a great way to tackle depression. What is less often discussed is that depression can rob you of the motivation to even get out of bed, let alone the motivation to go for a run. Here is an excellent article by Sarah Kurchak, a personal trainer who has depression, and covers that very topic. You should go ahead and read it - for those without any experience of depression, it will help you get a bit more understanding of what depression is like; and for those who have depression, you will appreciate one of the main points at the beginning: You don't have to exercise.

She writes "In short, exercise can’t help with your depression if even thinking about exercise is making you more depressed."

So first things first when it comes to exercise and depression: make sure you're in a place where at least thinking about doing some exercise is possible and not making you feel worse. If it's not, then take your time; do what you've got to do; and put exercise on to the back burner.

If you are ready to think about exercise, then I'd like to help with a couple Sarah Kurchak's other tips: choose the right venue and plan accordingly; find an instruction style that works for you.

If you think capoeira could be the work out for you, that's great! However, I appreciate that trying something new, especially with new people, can be quite a difficult first step. My wife has depression and anxiety, which has helped me understand that first hand.

To find out if the venue, and my instruction style, are the correct ones for you, I'm more than happy to meet before hand - or over the phone/by email, to answer any questions you have. The first class is free, but I don't mind if you want to come and watch a class first, before taking that first class.

Capoeira will help with more than just the workout. The NEF has found five evidence based steps to well being: Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give.

This brings us to relationships, the theme of this year's Mental Health Awareness Week.

The NEF says:
Connect: With the people around you. With family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. At home, work, school or in your local community. Think of these as the cornerstones of your life and invest time in developing them. building these connections will support and enrich you every day.
As with exercise, the above advice can be easier said than done when depression or anxiety take hold, but they are a great way of restoring, or maintaining, mental well being. Joining a new group can be a great way to connect with people and when I moved to Gloucestershire not knowing a soul, it was starting capoeira that gave me a network of friends outside of work. When I return to Cheltenham for capoeira events it is great to catch up with the friends I have made there. It has been great to see the group, and the friendships within it, grow, here in Chichester.

More importantly though, if you are affected by depression, or know people who are, then take the time to connect with them. Capoeira can help with that, but when it comes to looking out for each other, it's ultimately down to each of us. So why not take part in the Mental Health Foundation's "Relationship Resolution"? Make a resolution to send that text or email you've been meaning to send; make that phone call; or go and catch up with that old friend. Or maybe to try something new and connect with our group. We'd love to see you!

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