You know those days? When it’s raining, windy and cold? When something is causing you great anxiety? When you are depressed about turning 30, 40, 50 or 60? When a problem is just eating at you? When for some reason you just feel blah?
You try to sit under a warm blanket and eat soup or sit and worry about your problems or ponder what age really means or push through all those feelings of depression and blahness (is that a word? now it is :)). You try all of those things and more just to feel better… and none of them work. You can’t seem to cheer up and get out of your own way.
You all know what I’m about to say. I’m a trainer for goodness sake…
This bit of advice has been written thousands of times but we ignore it. Thinking that magically one of the other solutions will surely work this time. And maybe they do… once. But it’s probably a fluke. There is no medical research that I know of that proves sitting and worrying about your problems does you ANY good. But working out? There is loads of research supporting why exercise is great for making you feel less “blah”. From www.mayoclinic.com:
Exercise probably helps ease depression in a number of ways, which may include:
- Releasing feel-good brain chemicals that may ease depression (neurotransmitters and endorphins)
- Reducing immune system chemicals that can worsen depression
- Increasing body temperature, which may have calming effects
Exercise has many psychological and emotional benefits too. It can help you:
- Gain confidence. Meeting exercise goals or challenges, even small ones, can boost your self-confidence. Getting in shape can also make you feel better about your appearance.
- Take your mind off worries. Exercise is a distraction that can get you away from the cycle of negative thoughts that feed anxiety and depression.
- Get more social interaction. Exercise may give you the chance to meet or socialize with others. Just exchanging a friendly smile or greeting as you walk around your neighborhood can help your mood.
- Cope in a healthy way. Doing something positive to manage anxiety or depression is a healthy coping strategy. Trying to feel better by drinking alcohol, dwelling on how badly you feel, or hoping anxiety or depression will go away on its own can lead to worsening symptoms
Ya, ya…we all have heard that but do we really believe it? I don’t know about you, I’m a person who has to experience things in order to really believe them (just ask my husband). So the other day I was anxious. I definitely am an anxious person and most of the time it’s under control. This was not the case last Thursday. Everything I did, said or thought exuded anxiety. I tried to stop (ya right), tried to cheer up (again, ya right), tried to push through and bully the anxiety out of me (not quite) but never once did I think I should workout.
That is until my loving husband suggested I go to the gym. I think it might have been more of a direction but I’ll take it as a suggestion. 🙂 So I dragged my anxious pathetic self to the gym (which is 3 minutes from my house in Belchertown). I grudgingly got on the treadmill and got off after a minute. I went over to the elliptical and promised myself I would keep moving for a full 10 minutes. And I did. It wasn’t too bad and since I was warmed up I decided I might as well stay and do my planned workout. The workout for the day was a HIIT workout (High Intenstiy Interval Training). It involved burpees, push ups, squat jumps, dips, mountain climbers and jump lunges. Each exercise was to be done for 50 seconds, rest for 10 seconds and move on the next one. Repeat this circuit 4 times.
So how did it go? Just as expected. I was more concerned with gasping for air and my burning quadriceps than anything I had been anxious about. It was amazing really. Not once did I think about any of my problems. And afterwards I was actually calm! I couldn’t believe it. I always preach that exercise is good for your mood but this was really a fantastic example of how true it is!
So, the next time you are in a “blah” mood or really anxious, find some time to workout. Really get your blood flowing and you might just be surprised that the person who walked into the gym is not the same as the one leaving.