Developed by The New Economics Foundation (commissioned by Foresight – the UK government’s futures think-tank) the Five Ways to Wellbeing are a set of evidence-based public mental health messages aimed at improving the mental health and well-being of the whole population.
The evidence suggests that there are five key steps that we can all take to improve our mental wellbeing. Implementing these steps on a regular basis can help us all feel happier, more positive and able to get the most from life.
And who doesn’t want that?
We often share these steps on social media, as they are so simple to incorporate into every day life. Here at Always Oarsome, we are phenomenally lucky. Rowing ticks every single one of these steps and that will be why we have all seen a massive improvement in our own wellbeing as a result of partaking in this amazing sport several times a week!
So – what are the five steps?
- CONNECT – Spend time with family, friends, colleagues, crew mates – people who are important to you. Or speak to someone new and really listen to them. Connect.
- BE ACTIVE – You don’t have to go to the gym. Take a walk, go rowing or cycling – play a game of football. Take the stairs instead of the lift. Put on your favourite tune and dance like no one is watching! Find an activity that you enjoy and suits your mobility and fitness. Be active.
- KEEP LEARNING – Learning new skills can give you a sense of achievement and a new confidence.
- GIVE TO OTHERS – Even the smallest act can count, whether it’s a smile, and thank you or a kind word. Larger acts such as volunteering at your local community centre or charitable organisation can improve mental wellbeing and help you build new social networks. Give to others.
- BE MINDFUL – Be more aware of the present moment, including your thoughts and feelings., your body and the world around you. This can positively change the way you feel about life and improve how you approach challenges. It also gives you a break from thinking (worrying!) about things that happened in the past, or may happen in the future. Take notice.
As you can see, each of these steps can be very simple to implement. And some activities will enable you to do more than one at a time! Rowing provides the opportunity to carry out all five steps, making it the perfect vehicle for wellbeing.
When you row, you are part of a crew and a squad which provides ample opportunities to connect with others. In fact, you have to communicate, trust and connect with others in your boat to make it float and go! Rowing is one of the few sports that uses most of the muscles of the body each stroke, making it a perfect way to be active. (And once you get the big like team Always Oarsome, you will likely find yourself training five or six times a week – keeping very active indeed!)
Rowing is also a very technical sport, meaning that there is a lot to learn and remember. This applies as much to elite rowers as it does to beginners. There is always something to learn.
If you are in a rowing boat with other people, you have to give of yourself in order to make the boat move. Giving support, motivation and commitment to each other is essential.
When you row, you instantly forget everything other than what is happening there, in the boat. And occasionally around you. You focus on the movement of your body, the feeling of the oars in the water as you drive the boat forwards, and the feeling (and sound) of the boat cutting through the water. And you are surrounded by flora and fauna – including seals! Beautiful to behold!
There is nothing like the feeling of pushing your boat off the landing stage, as you leave your day to day worries behind. Rowing is one of the most mindful things you can do. Take notice.
So … NOW do you see why rowing is so fantastic for wellbeing?