I can specifically say I know exactly what has affected my mood. In a good way. Today I had a really good workout. Yep. The gym. Those endorphins were pumping through my body. I was in an awful mood when I rocked up. Ask my mama and Mr. PT, he looked at me and knew what sort of session he was in for and that his work was cut out for him. By the end of the session and mind you Mr. PT didn’t have to do too much I was actually enjoying the work out and getting into it. As they both joked it was because the work out was finishing that my mood improved but I can honestly attest that the exercise had adjusted my mood.
I don’t particularly like sweat and feeling icky but I do like the feeling of punching the focus pads hard, completing a task efficiently, lifting a slightly heavier weight or for more reps, yeah talking like a gym junkie =) Honestly achieving what I have been achieving has been good. Although in some ways I got complacent.
Over recent weeks I have had an injury and I have not been physically able to run. (Yes for those mind-body readers I have checked it out and I AM working on it ha!) At first I continued to run but eventually its caught up with me and it’s just not possible. I will cause other injury in other body parts =/ So I think this morning I was packed full of frustration and anger at not being able to exercise and more importantly, run for this last fortnight. Although I didn’t run today and still can’t until I heal I felt better having specific exercises that were conducive to me still burning energy and feeling the workout. Bless his
cotton socks gym shoes =)
This has reinforced to me how important exercise is for improving moods. I am evidence of this. As I do with clients if i had to rate my mood for the past fortnight it would be a 3/10, honestly after exercising I was feeling a blissful 8/10. Yes you do come down from the high but overall it infiltrates your whole day.
The key factors I have been reflecting on for exercise and improved mental health over the last weeks and months are:
* Any exercise that gets your heart rate up is effective and improves your mood
* Surround yourself with positive people but more importantly those people who are interested in fitness and health
* These people need to walk the talk. I know I respect Mr. PT and even listen to him, yes as hard as it is for me Ms Scorpio I take on board what he has to say as he is living proof of the information he shares.
* Utilise vision boards and quotes, they really emphasise what you want to focus upon and also give you that extra kick up the pants to do what you aim to do.
* Use visualisation and affirmations during your workout. What gets you over the line? Thinking a particular line or saying, hearing someones voice say something to you (devil or angel on your shoulder), seeing a picture of yourself a certain way or in a situation that will result as part of your exercise. Anything when you are struggling or need that added push to do that little bit extra. Have it ready to fall back on. Immediate reaction is important. standing in the gym thinking of motivation doesn’t keep the momentum =)
* Use music. I have various running tracks that I flick through. It depends on my mood but also depends on the type of workout I am aiming for. Personally I am mostly a rock chick so I get the most out of my workouts with rock/alternative/pop rock tunes. Although other times I am partial to some dance hits but they must have a certain tempo to keep me motivated. There are certain DJ’s that have remixes that are great for running or fast tempo exercise. By the way – good set of earphones are imperative. You don’t want to have to continually ensure the buds are not falling out of your ears.
* Commend yourself on a job well done. Yes you may have a goal to reach but if you keep focusing on the outcome its going to be an awfully long journey and also when is the end.Health and wellbeing is lifelong. How do you make an end point?
* Fitness, health and wellbeing is a lifestyle. This is only getting through to me now. I had a revelation over recent days. I had a core belief that I wanted to be seen as natural and that I didn’t have to work hard at my figure or health. I realised that in the past I thought it was my failing that put me in my position where i am today. Yes I was failing by comparing myself to others and by not committing to put myself as important enough to commit to health and wellbeing. I wasnt a failure because of my body shape nor was I a failure because I didn’t bounce back the same as others who “appeared” to not do anything after having a child. I was making poor choices and expecting totally unachievable outcomes.
It’s a complete misgiving that there are people who don’t work at their health. Even if they are lean, it doesn’t always mean they are healthy. I truly believe to be of healthy mind, body and spirit we must invest in it. there is no other way. No short cuts or cutting corners. What I put into something I will receive. What I reap. I sow. (I have mentioned this before here and here)
So in the last week I have been on fitness focused surge. I think as I havent been able to actually exercise I have been devouring motivational quotes and sayings, Pinterest has had a “workout”, I have been following more fitness and health oriented people on twitter and absorbing information, I suppose you could call it fuel for my mind. Half the battle of exercise really is getting over the hurdle of your psyche toward it.
Of course I’m not implying that all our worries, or mental illness is absorbed and no longer existent with a run here or there or a visit to the gym but it certainly makes us feel better and can even help our perception that life and how its presenting at this point in time is a lot more manageable.