Discover more from The Any Distance Active Times
Movement As Medicine
Today's issue of The Active Times is quite meaningful to the team here at Any Distance. Recently we've noticed a significant uptick in reporting and studies focused on the value of movement for managing depression, depressive symptoms, and other mental health issues. Below, you'll read some personal accounts of how impactful activity, exercise, and community have been and further reading on how you, too, can potentially manage or support yourself or those in your life who may benefit from continuing to or becoming more active.
We understand that these topics may be triggering for some individuals.
Depression is a complex disorder that can affect people in different ways. It may not be easy to read about for those who have experienced it firsthand. Our goal is to approach these discussions with empathy and sensitivity, understanding that some individuals may have had traumatic experiences related to mental health. This is a reminder to take care of yourself and seek support if needed.
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A recent systematic review published by the British Journal of Sports Medicine concluded that "exercise is efficacious in treating depression and depressive symptoms and should be offered as an evidence-based treatment option..."
Anecdotally, and as touched on here in Issue 0002 of The Active Teams, the impetus for the creation of Any Distance came from our CEO, Luke Beards' own struggles with depression and unhealthy self-soothing. After seeing the, "going for a stupid little walk for my stupid little mental health" meme enough times, Luke decided to try it. His daily walks soon made him feel better physically and mentally. "I felt calmer, and the anxious black cloud began to dissipate.” Another positive impact was how it provided motivation for others in his community. "I received encouraging replies and notes that sharing those walks motivated others to follow along and find their own way to move their bodies."
The value of movement when it comes to managing depression and depression systems was even more evident in another study by UniSA lead researcher Ben Singh. "Physical activity is known to help improve mental health. Yet despite the evidence, it has not been widely adopted as a first-choice treatment," Dr. Singh says.
In fact, this was my personal experience. Early in 2022, I was dealing with marital separation and impending divorce and struggling physically and emotionally. During a routine visit with my Dr., I was diagnosed with Situational Depression and offered a range of drug-based treatments as the first option. I decided to make lifestyle changes in the first instance as a way to self-medicate. I joined an Orange Theory Fitness studio in Portland, Maine and started attending classes almost daily. I noticed a shift in my mood. My eating habits became better. I was sleeping more and drinking less. It didn't take long for me to adjust to my new lifestyle. In fact, results show that exercise interventions that were 12 weeks or shorter were most effective at reducing mental health symptoms, highlighting the speed at which physical activity can initiate change.
In summary, the growing body of evidence shows that physical activity is a great way to prevent, mitigate and manage mental health symptoms and can be equally if not more effective than counseling and medication alone. Please remember to consult with a licensed practitioner to develop your best treatment plan.
Find Your Community
Along with the physical health benefits I realized through attending group fitness classes, the sense of community and social interaction also positively impacted me. Research has also shown that social support is important. This can include in-person and virtual communication and relationships.
The plans for Any Distance have always included adding a social network to the experience. The focus will be on participation, accountability, motivation, and celebration. An essential part of what we’re calling ‘Active Clubs’ is the ability to for groups and clubs to organize and communicate with their communities.
Right now, we're in the midst of learning more about how activity-based groups are currently engaging, supporting, communicating with, and motivating their community members. With the goal that Any Distance can provide a future solution to help to bring awesome people together to celebrate their active lives!
If you are a club or group leader and are interested in helping us shape the future (for the better). You can simply complete this form, and we'll get a call scheduled at your convenience.
Slow Down To Speed Up
While movement and an active lifestyle are important tenets of Any Distance, we also recognize the importance of rest. Allowing the body to recuperate and the mind to ease is a must.
Enter the Not So Active Club, a gentle encouragement to be mindful, slow down, and be present. Recently we rolled out (sorry) our second product from the Not So Active Club collection, the Post-Active Roll On, in collaboration with Misc. Goods Co. Now you can sync any activity of 20 minutes (or longer) and earn the digital version of the very pretty roll-on bottle. Plus, $10 off the IRL version 😏
We've also noticed a trend in the specific activities being tracked in Any Distance. Some of the special activity types we have included, such as Mindfulness and Cold Plunge, are growing in popularity, along with Yoga and Pilates. It may have something to do with the trend of many gyms and recovery-based businesses offering dedicated space and services for you to simply rest.
Disco Disco with the BrilliBrilliant Unicorn
Aside from Any Distance, you know what I can't go without during a workout? A nice crisp pair of white socks. So I'm proud to present our latest collaboration with the wonderful BBUC, aka BrilliBrilliant Unicorn. Self-described as a sports brand for dreamers, their unique take on design, fit, and function is inspiring. We can't think of a better partnership to keep your feet grooving; however, you like to move.
As of this Friday, March 24, any distance-based activity of 30 minutes or longer will unlock a special digital pair of the BBUC Disco Collection socks and the chance to claim your own IRL version. S(t)ocks are limited, so move fast.
📱 Watch 73-year-old Grateful Dead Singer Bob Weir's pre-show workout routine.
💻 Read about the 10 stunning walks near London. Summer trip planning, anyone?
🎧 Listen to the inspiring story of Aussie ultra-runner Nedd Brockman, who ran across Australia and raised over $2 million to combat homelessness.
⚽️ Check out the cast of Ted Lasso, led by Jason Sudeikis, at the White House to discuss mental health.
🍔 Eat the best burger you'll find in New York. I ate one a few weeks ago on a visit and haven't stopped thinking about it. Seriously – it's that good.
☕️ Drink (or consume) the caffeine. It may just be the secret to running faster, lifting more, and cycling farther.
🥇 Earn one of 90+ activity medals directly in Any Distance. Your challenge, should you accept, is earning a new medal this week. Tweet us with your proof, and I'll send you an Any Distance T-Shirt.
As mentioned earlier in the email, do you happen to be part of, or lead a run club, group bike ride, race, an 𝙖𝙘𝙩𝙞𝙫𝙚 𝙘𝙤𝙢𝙢𝙪𝙣𝙞𝙩𝙮? We would love to talk to you about motivation, organization, and bringing people together. We can even make you a fun medal as a thank you!
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