Routine key to Herar’s positive approach

Hugh Farrell

Herar with Team Ryano members.

The positive effects of MMA from a fitness perspective are obvious but does it help with mood and mental well being too?

Sophia Herar, a member of DCU MMA, agrees with the importance saying “it definitely does.”

“If you’re feeling low, it’s hard to get out of the house and make the way to the gym, but once you’re there and get absorbed in training, you start feeling a lot better.

“At least I do. Training gives the mind something to focus on and since the sport is both physically and mentally demanding, it leaves your head very little time to focus on whatever it was that made you feel low in the first place.

“It has certainly given it more routine. If I’m healthy, I try to train at least four times a week. Even if I don’t make it to a full session, I’ll meet up with a training partner at lunch for a few rounds of rolling or sparring, or come an hour earlier to the next session.

“Overall it has made me a more balanced person and I definitely find that I rarely skip training in favour of going out.”

Sophia got into MMA two years ago after deciding to try a new activity in college. She ended up having so much fun that she never left.

“When I joined DCU MMA 2 years ago, I had never practised any martial art before, but I enjoyed the classes from the start. Our coach Oisín is structuring the classes very well, so I found it easy to learn new techniques quickly and without losing my enthusiasm for the sport.”

With a club, one of the biggest components that assist with mood and mental health in sport is the team aspect.

“The team members are all great, although, especially as a woman, it takes a while to start feeling like part of the team, simply because there aren’t too many other female members. However, all of the lads are lovely and sticking around long enough to get to know everyone was definitely worth it.

“The atmosphere and feeling of being part of a team has gotten me through many a bad week because it gave me something to look forward to at the end of each day.”

The club are also understanding when it comes to mental health. “It is never a problem to sit out a drill or take a short break if things get overwhelming.

“Overall I have to say that it this been pretty amazing. I did have a couple of setbacks, injuries, mental health issues, etc. but I always came back and never stopped enjoying it.”

Coach Oisin McCabe also said “It is a form of meditation in many ways. Tough to think about anything else while someone is trying to grapple you. Also it builds confidence and gives a direction and focus not just as a competitive outlet, but also as a martial arts lifestyle.”

Hugh Farrell

Image Credit: DCU MMA