Health and fitness expert Dal Dhaliwal blogs on how getting active can support your mental wellbeing, and on her journey to building up a successful business in the industry.
I was really active at school. I played football and was captain of the girl's hockey team. I also used to walk everywhere with my mother as she didn't drive. As a teenager I enjoyed going to classes – in those days' aerobics and step classes were the latest craze!
When I became a mother I decided to exercise at home - mainly to lose the weight I gained during pregnancy. Exercising at home was more convenient. It wasn't until 1998 that I decided to follow my passion and get qualified to pursue a career in fitness.
I didn't get much support or encouragement at first. I had been really good at hockey in school, but I had never thought of taking it up seriously. I was fully aware it wasn't an option for Asian females. Culturally it would not have been accepted. However, as an adult I realised how important it is to follow your passion
I didn't get much support or encouragement to pursue my passion for sport and fitness… Culturally it would not have been accepted.
I enrolled at a local college and trained to be a Personal Trainer and Aerobic/dance instructor. I ignored the negative feedback and cultural barriers I faced. It wasn't easy, I had lots of knock backs. At times it was very lonely and I felt like giving up. I'm proud I didn't. I wanted to be a good role model to my three daughters - giving up wasn't an option.
My husband supported me, and that helped me to keep moving forward. Becoming a mum gave me inner strength, courage and self-belief that I never imagined I would ever have. I had to be patient and focus on my passion and my dream - which was to help people to lead healthier, fitter and happier lifestyles.
I had to be patient and focus on my passion and my dream - which was to help people to lead healthier, fitter and happier lifestyles
Being active has helped me become stronger both mentally and physically. I always feel I can handle stress better when I am active. I've known for many years that being active benefits my mental wellbeing.
Being active has helped me become stronger both mentally and physically… It really does help with anxiety, depression and stress
As a mum keeping active gave me more energy to handle the demands that being a busy mums brings. It really does help with anxiety, depression and stress. The release of has endorphin's has an amazing effect on one's mental wellbeing.
I would encourage everyone to get active. Often when people think of activity they think of fitness or strenuous activity. But even everyday activities like walking or gardening can help.
Try and find something that you love - that way you are more likely to stick to it. Make it a lifestyle habit and keep it consistent. Keeping active is beneficial to your mental and physical wellbeing.
Dal Dhaliwal is the first Asian woman in the UK to run a successful private fitness studio and gym for women: www.bodyperfectpt.com. She has been in the wellness industry since 1998.
This blog was written in partnership with Mind, the mental health charity. Mind provides advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding. They also support the sport sector to put mental health on the agenda. Find out more at mind.org.uk/sport
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