Mindfulness and Health Food classes, alternatives to sports at ACLO

Photo by Chiara Milani

Due to Covid-19 regulations, also in Groningen gyms and sports centres suspended their activities, at least until the 9th of February, probably longer. Many students, who are used ot practice sport to relief tension, are now burdened with increasing stress and anxiety.  

Where can they turn to?  ACLO, the student sports organization of the University of Groningen, offers some online classes. Among them, there are “Mindfulness” and “Healthy Food”.

Screenshot from ACLO.

For Federica, a Physics student, it was a hard blow when her gym had to close: “I used to do aerobics, but at home, it’s not possible. I don’t have space nor tools. I liked to go there, it was a safe space for me, to take a breath and refocus”, she says.

Of course, Mindfulness cannot be not a substitute for sport, but since it is the practice of awareness, it can take over the energy-stabilising function usually performed by sport, explains Anja Boers, the Mindfulness trainer at ACLO.

“The Mindfulness course is offered from the perspective of mental health”, she says. “Your mind is like any other part of your body, it needs training. In this period, you may experience more frustration and stress. Mindfulness helps you to create your box of tools to be more resilient, more capable to deal with Covid-19 and to bounce back.”

Practicing less sport, combined with unhealthy eating habits, can also have bad consequences on your body. “ I am usually quite attentive, but especially in the first lockdown, I let myself go. Food was one of my only moments of joy of the day”, recalls Federica.  

Here intervenes Neeke Smit, dietician and trainer of Healthy Food classes.“I think most of us know ‘corona kilos’. Also, healthy eating provides us with the nutrition we need for a good working immune system, and statistically obese and not healthy people are more likely to experience severe consequences of the virus”, she says.

From Neeke Smit Instagram page.

As she explains, nutrition is an important part of mental health, and therefore especially important in times of lockdown.

Mindfulness, as a conscious state of mind, can be applied to all everyday activities, from eating to moving : “In my classes, I give homework to my students to practice mindful movement: mindful yoga, mindful walking, you can do mindful sport as well” says  the coach Anya Boers.

According to her, mindfulness is very suitable for online training, since home can be the perfect place to have privacy and connect more easily to your inner self.  So, why not give it a try?

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