Exercise Aftermath

If you have been reading along you know that I have been under some unusual stress for the last week.  To put it bluntly, I found myself at the end of my rope, hanging by the tips of my fingernails.  I was very, very stressed out.  I can’t remember the last time I felt this stressed or for this long.

But a funny thing happened:  I felt a need to exercise.  Sure, a small part of it was that I didn’t want to lose momentum for my very slow weight loss so didn’t want to miss burning those calories.  And a small part of it was the fear that if I didn’t keep up with my consistent habit, I wouldn’t go back to my routine.  But the biggest part of the need to work out was to feel better.  I knew that I needed to find a way to relieve some of the stress, needed to find some outlet.  I felt an actual urge to work out!

So the other morning, another very bad morning, I knew there was a chance that the current circumstances would intrude and keep me from my cycling class at the gym.  So before I even ate breakfast, I hoped on the treadmill at home and walked/jogged for 45 glorious minute.  Yes… glorious!  I felt my muscles engage and my mind disengage.  I got sweaty and my heart rate rose for all the right reasons.  And when the 45 minutes was over, I felt good.  Really, really good.  I am now a true believer in the power of endorphins.

So fast-forward to later that same morning.  Amazingly I still had the day to myself.  So I headed to yoga class.  Since I have not been doing it that long and am not usually a good relaxer, I suspected that during the class my mind would be elsewhere.  Like on the cell phone sitting on the floor behind my sticky mat waiting for the call that would pull me from class.  But I was wrong.  I focused on breathing and being in the moment.  And in the final minutes of class when we lay in the dark to relax, I was fall-asleep-relaxed.  Again, exercise had calmed me and brought me to a better mental place.  Hoped for, but not truly expected.

It has taken me many years to develop an exercise habit.  I started because I wanted to lower my cholesterol and lose weight.  I eventually found motivation to keep at it to be physically strong and fit.  I never did it for mental health.  I never considered it for mental health.  But this week I learned something about myself and exercise.  And gave myself another reason to workout.

So next time you are feeling stressed, try exercise.  Give yourself the gift of endorphins.  Feel your spirits lift.  Even if you don’t enjoy the exercise itself, you can relish the aftermath.  Aftermath can be good:)

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14 Comments

Filed under emotions/emotional issues, exercise

14 responses to “Exercise Aftermath

  1. Yes, I totally agree. I say to my friend at the gym all the time that exercise is my prozac. If I don’t exercise for a few days, I really mentally feel a difference.

    Good for you 🙂

  2. I definitely agree! every time I exercise, whether or not I feel like it, I come out feeling better than I did going in. Especially some tough exercise… and a bonus, I sleep better at night so I’m less stressed the next day.

    Excellent post! 🙂

  3. Awesome post! Exercise will cure a lot of ills, that’s for sure. I’m glad you had an opportunity to “disengage” for a bit.

  4. “I felt my muscles engage and my mind disengage”…….I absolutely love this line!

  5. and/but don’t forget to dance, too! 😀

    I totally agree; I feel out of sorts on the days I don’t exercise/dance.

    :: hugs for all that you are going through ::

  6. sunnydaze

    I totally agree that exercising is a great stress reliever and good for mental/spiritual health. When I started on my weight loss journey walking outdoors was (and still is) my exercise of choice. I loved being outdoors in the sunshine with the sun beating on my back, the wind against my face, just sorting my thoughts or letting my mind wander depending on what was going on in my life at the time. When other women started asking to walk with me I would kinda’ get miffed because I didn’t want them intruding on my “me” time. It’s almost like meditation to me. LOVE.IT.

  7. I love to exercise. I love knowing I’ve done it and feeling stronger because I’ve done it.

    I’ve given you an awards because I love your blog and your writing. You are such an inspiration. You can see the award here: http://mylivelovelaughlife.com/wordpress/.

  8. You know it’s funny lately I feel the same way- I was actually not happy yesterday that I couldn’t run on the treadmill cuz my knee was killing me. I crocheted instead… 🙂

  9. Yep…I agree. Exercise can be a release. And I’m definitely happier when I do it.

  10. Carla

    I also love to exercise. Whenever I am cranky my husband tells me to go work out! He knows that I am much calmer and happier when I get my daily dose!

  11. I get stressed if I have to miss my exercise. Isn’t it great when you know that exercise will make you feel better? I love this post!

  12. Great post! I’m so sorry you’ve had a stressful week. Stress can derail my best laid plans. I’m still working on stress management in my life. BUT you showed you can overcome it and you’ve found a healthy outlet for it. Yay you! 🙂

  13. Funny how hard it is sometimes to start exercising when we know how much better we will feel afterwards!

    Yesterday I could not get to the gym, but I took TWO walks outside! Sunshine and all. Oh they felt good.

  14. I find that since I’ve started the Couch to 5K program, I want to do it every time I go to the gym … it’s hard to remind myself that I have to leave a day in between.

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