Name: Chris Wall
What is your ‘why’ for exercising?
I’m a Movember Ambassador and the founder of The What’SUP Group. I started our mens standup paddle board sessions to give me a sense of fulfilment and affiliation, in a time when I was struggling physically and mentally.
I have spent my whole life playing sports in teams, but due to injury and family commitments I haven’t been able to commit to a team for a long time.
I run, cycle and surf a lot but due to an ankle injury, I had also neglected that.
Throw in a pandemic, a second child on the way and career identity issues and I was really starting to crumble mentally.
Anxiety was affecting everything I did. I was short tempered, angry, bitter and feeling guilty about things that I shouldn’t have been.
My work with Movember has always highlighted to me that there are other men in similar situations as I was. I needed to give myself designated time to reflect on my thoughts and try to regulate my emotions. I have found that floating on the river, slowing down and talking to other guys, has really helped me focus on what is important and has given me a chance to make new friends, who I would otherwise have never met.
All I really want to do is be a good dad, husband, brother, son and friend. I hope The What’SUP Group and the SUP60 Challenges can support others to do the same.
What advice would you give to someone around using physical activity to improve their mental health?
Assign time – I book it in and make sure that is is a priority. My brain will make up reasons why I shouldn’t do it i.e. dad guilt, jobs need doing, fatigue etc.
Tell someone – I find that telling someone will give me a little more motivation to do it. They may join in or give you some healthy peer pressure to do it.
Don’t expect dramatic changes straight away – there are some immediate positives when doing physical activity, but I find it builds up over time. Be patient with your body and mind.