How has your mental and physical health been affected since March 2020, when all leisure facilities were closed and you were unable to access UK Shaolin classes?
Diagnosed with Asthma at an early age and taking medication to ease symptoms since childhood, I never realised how important regular exercise is to maintaining good health. My treatment had always masked my underlying condition, when perhaps a non-medical solution may have been more beneficial. Before joining, I was never motivated to exercise but, by participating in UK Shaolin activities, I am finding myself continually inspired and motivated. Fitness is now an essential part of my routine, UK Shaolin has instilled exercise into my daily life. During lockdown, I was able to continue exercising on my own because of the foundation built up over the last 10 years. I would now consider myself a long-standing member and my behaviour and habits have been permanently changed due to the ongoing training programme. Because of UK Shaolin, my motivation to train and live healthily has not gone away just because the facilities have closed.
Did you make use of UK Shaolin Online Offers and how did it benefit your physical and mental health?
Joining in the online classes was easy and sustained the feeling of being part of a community even though the classes were taught remotely. I was surprised how well the interactive lessons worked. The instructors were patient and their teaching methods translated well to the online format without losing quality or attention to individual needs. The social link to my fellow students (some of whom I would otherwise not see regularly), was also important to me for maintaining relationships, balancing my busy work schedule as a key worker, with much-needed social interaction.
Did you attend UK Shaolin Outdoor Activities and how did these benefit your physical and mental health?
With such a physical sport, not everything can be done inside in front of a webcam. The outdoor training provided cardio activity designed to increase stamina and resilience with the added benefit of being instructor-led, out in the fresh air and sunlight. For me personally during lockdown, enabling me to participate in such intense outdoor exercise, contrasted my work, providing an outlet for both stress and anxiety.
How did the return of in-person indoor classes benefit your physical and mental health?
The routine and conditioning throughout my 10 years with UK Shaolin meant that I did not need to decide when I would return, it was instinctive. The encouragement, support and regular newsletters containing timetable updates meant that I was able to re-join from day one. The indoor classes re-combined the cardio, technique and strength training elements of the sport, renewing my enthusiasm and love for the art, community culture created by UK Shaolin.
What can UK Shaolin do to benefit your physical and mental health in future?
In future I would like to see a dedicated purpose-built training facility, which is also a social hub, allowing for like-minded people to train, interact and socialise in a safe and non-judgemental environment. I firmly believe that by surrounding yourself with extraordinary people, who support your interests and inspire you to reach your goals without preconception, is critical to mental well-being and a fulfilling life.