People who engage in physical activity are happier

Fitness is the first requirement for happiness.” So forceful when he speaks of true well-being. Author and lecturer, Orpinell dedicates his life to helping people improve and create change in their lives through the development of balanced and conscious habits (sport and meditation).

Professionally trained in the Pilates method and with fifteen years of experience, he trained with some of the best educators in this discipline on an international scale. He currently works as a freelance doing personal trainings, workshops, seminars, events, paddle surf and pilates classes, as well as writing books and collaborating in the media.

In parallel, he gives lectures in the DialogA series of talks. The last one: “Stress management through sport”. For him, meditation and sport are key to combating stress and anxiety.

According to the Spanish Society for the Study of Anxiety and Stress, 80% of workers would like to change jobs because of stress and 48% of European workers consider that stress affects their health …

Your proposal is to combat anxiety and stress through sport and meditation. Why?

I can affirm, both because of the endorsement of scientific studies related to the subject and because of my experience in the field, that people who practice physical activity and are aware of their breathing (or meditate), unlike those who do not, are happier, enjoy better character and are more resolute.

So what are the keys to managing stress through breathing?

First of all, become aware. Breathing is something that happens mechanically and we don’t need to think about it for it to happen. The key is to rediscover this process; to bring attention to the breath, observing it, and in this way move the focus of the mind away from the constant compulsive thinking (mental noise).

And through sport?

Physical activity produces beneficial physiological effects to control stress. The practice (always better outdoors and in good company) encourages the production of endorphins, dopamine and serotonin, which are hormones of happiness. Sport also favours mental states in which we isolate ourselves from worries and anxieties.

How to practice it correctly?

The correct way to do sport is by paying attention to your sensations, listening to your body and your breathing. It is necessary to devote full attention to the physical activity we are doing. Breathing is the link by which we connect with the present moment and our sensations and thus we flee from distractions.

What kind of sport would you recommend especially to reduce stress?

Any physical activity is beneficial. There are, however, some more suitable activities to reduce negative stress levels. For example, yoga or Pilates. In these two techniques, attention is emphatically drawn to your breathing, your movement and your body alignment.

How often?

I would advise doing sports at least three times a week. Exercise is a habit that you have to adopt as if you were brushing your teeth. You will always find excuses. It’s time to visualize your priorities.

One of those excuses is the lack of time

There is no lack of time. Every day lasts 24 hours for everyone. There are different priorities. In addition, there are very effective types of training that can be done in short periods and 5-minute meditations, no more than that. We need to think about changing. And this costs, because human beings reject change in the first instance, but change (movement) is the essence of life in this universe.

What is Fernando Orpinell’s daily routine to combat stress?

In my case, I try to maintain a learning attitude. I deal with stress every day and my way of fighting it is through good humor, acceptance of those situations that are not so pleasant and awareness and enjoyment of the little good moments of every day. And I can channel that, without a doubt, through physical activity and meditation.

Changing a little bit of a third, how can we, through running, find the balance and health we are looking for?

In order to find balance and health, we must first become aware of where we are, how our body is, if it is suitable for activity, if our organism is ready to run. Then, plan and get advice. And, above all, to be constant and patient.

If you have been interested in this topic, you may also be interested in Fernando Orpinell’s other paper on “Running to be the best version of yourself”.