Getting out of Bed…Do I really have to?
Being depressed most often leaves you feeling low in energy, which then makes you enter the vicious circle as you’re now put off being more active all together. Trust me; I know all too well that most days just getting out bed and getting downstairs is a big enough effort and feels like enough exercise as that was a hard challenge in itself!! So if you got out of bed today when you wanted to hide from the world then well done you!! You did it !! Don’t worry about tomorrow just applaud yourself that you did it today! And if you haven’t managed that yet then don’t worry. Tomorrow is a new day and tell yourself that tomorrow is the day you will and can face the world a little.
So how an earth are you supposed to even think about wanting to do exercise? Or more importantly why should you?? So you know someone has always done a study right? Well that someone has done a study on exercise and depression/ anxiety and what affects it has on that. Guess what? IT said it improves it. So I don’t know about you, but I don’t like the thought of taking a pill to help make me better. I want to do something too myself to take control. So that I can get better faster, and so that I can say “I had depression but I helped myself through it”! Maybe that’s the pig headedness in me. But I think it would feel so much more rewarding to have helped yourself then to have just taken a pill every day. Don’t you?
Method behind my madness – aka science
So some sciencey bit for you now, regular exercise helps ease depression as it releases a feel good chemical in your brain that is linked to easing depression (neurotransmitters, endorphins and endocannabinoids) fancy words I know! Exercise can also reduce immune system chemicals that can be most often linked to what is causing the depression or making it worse. Also exercise quite clearly increases your body temperature, it’s some sweaty stuff working out, and this actually has calming effects, who doesn’t like to feel all warm and fussy in side right?
What will it do to my brain!?!?!
So what about the psychological benefits of exercise? Well of course you’re going to increase your confidence when you meet your exercise goals whether they are big ones or small. It could be as simple as you want to be able to fast walk on a treadmill for 5 mins without being ridiculously out of breath, or you want to increase your fast walk from 1km to 2km in a 5 min period! For me the main thing exercise does psychologically is it takes my mind of everything else. Do you ever hear singers or performers say they love doing it as they just zone out and it takes them to a different place? Well exercise is a distraction and it helps move you away from those negative thoughts occupying your mind and swirling around so fast you feel dizzy from them. When your exercising you are more focused on the task in hand as it takes some thinking, you need form, you need balance you need co-ordination and if you’re adding some boxing in there you need some strength and stamina too! Exercise is a far better coping mechanism then using alcohol or drugs. And it is not uncommon for people to become addicted to the chemicals that are released during exercise and thus addicted to exercise (I think I am certainly at this stage!).
What is this thing you call exercise – it scares me and I don’t like the thought
When people often think of exercise they get scared or they think they couldn’t do it or they imagine running laps around a gym and being so out of breath they are going to pass out or be sick (personally I love that feeling now) but I started off thinking that exercise was some awful chore you had to do if you wanted lose weight and I hated the sheer thought of it, my stairs was enough exercise for me! But you don’t have to do all your exercise at once, and it doesn’t have to be super intense. Boxing is an amazing exercise for letting off steam, zoning out and having a fab workout without even realising it! You don’t have to go all gym bunny crazy. You start slow and you do what suits you and what you enjoy. It could be just going for a walk with a likeminded person and eventually picking up the pace as the days go on. It could be using machines at the gym without any weight added to them. It could be anything! It’s all about you and what works for you!
So who am I to say all this? What’s my story? (Boooooring)
So let me tell you a bit about me so you can see I haven’t just wrote this blog out of thin air or out of my love for exercising as let me tell you now a few years ago I certainly did not love exercising.
So I am mum to three children and I have never really been interested in exercise except to try and lose baby weight. But I tended to try and do that via my diet instead. I went from a girl who hated even hearing the word exercise, to now being a fully qualified personal trainer; I know I couldn’t quite believe it either!
So here’s how I ended up here; several years ago now I got diagnosed with depression and anxiety and my world was turned upside down. I was initially on medication however, it just wasn’t for me. I also didn’t like the thought of being on medication. In speaking with my Dr whilst I was awaiting counselling appointments. He suggested I try to go for walks or do some exercise. Now me and the outside world were not getting on, I didn’t want to face it at all! So I decided to do some home exercises and see how things went. Now don’t get me wrong I pushed myself through my paces beyond belief using DVDS such as Insanity. I hated every second of it when I was working out and I heated being all sweaty and needing wash afterwards. But once I finished my workout I was so elevated, it’s hard to describe. I felt like I had achieved something within my day and that I was happy about that. I felt my mood literally lifting and like I was ready for the battles ahead, I felt strong, I felt able I just felt like raging out loud and saying yes I just finished a workout and I feel damn good!!! I continued on with exercising and realising on the days I was unable to, or give up and lost motivation and didn’t exercise, they were always my darker days. I am not saying I didn’t have dark days when I had exercised but I felt more able to cope with them. Or what I do now when it’s a dark day I get my butt straight to the gym so I can zone out and forget that it’s a dark day. It’s not easy, you do have to push yourself off the sofa, or the bed. But YOU CAN DO IT. I did it and I am now even making a career out of it. But one of the main things I want to do is to show and help others that exercise can and does help your mental health. As a personal trainer I want to be there for people like me to help them train, and train right and for them to have someone to talk to and a place to vent (especially on the boxing pads!).
It’s a knockout!
So let’s knock the pants of the stigma to mental health and let’s knock the hell out of our demons together!! WE CAN AND WE WILL DO THIS!!! WE ARE STRONGER THAN WE THINK AS WE ARE STILL HERE FIGHTING EVERYDAY!!!
If you liked this blog or think you know someone who will please do share and lets spread the word.