Exercise for your brain. We’ve all heard the speech of how great it is for our health, mostly our physical health. I am a big fan of the physical effects, but I’m even more of a fan of the impact it has on my mental health.
I’m not a scientist nor am I a doctor or even a trainer. According to things I have seen and read exercise helps release endorphins that make us happy and it also raises our serotonin levels. Basically, exercise does a body, and a brain, good. Oxygenating the brain gives it the strength to fight the bad stuff. Like my yoga instructor says…inhale the good s$@% and exhale the bulls#$@.
Exercising is what kept me sane after going off medications for postpartum depression.
After our son, I did more of a HIT style training, and then after our daughter, I found yoga.
I don’t remember what made me want to try yoga because I was always of the mindset that if I didn’t sweat I wasn’t exercising. Then I found a place that did hot yoga. I went once, and I was hooked.
Yoga has become the place I go to for mental peace. I send a message to my husband to let him know I will be in yoga and shut out the world for 60-90 minutes. That is a big part of what makes exercise qualify as self-care for me, not just that it is good for my body but the fact that I found a way to be in that moment with no distractions.
It wasn’t easy for me because I did feel that I would miss something if I didn’t check my phone whenever it vibrated.
The problem was that between reminders and phone calls, I would have half my mind on the exercise and the other half on whatever else was going on outside those gym doors. Probably more on my phone than the workout.
Once I stopped taking my phone into yoga, I noticed how much more I would get from my work out. I could push myself further physically and would leave even more mentally ready to take on the world.
As far as what I do for exercise, I vary it a lot. Sometimes I go to the gym and lift weights, other times pilates or barre, and then there is my yoga. When I can, I even combine two excellent cup filling activities, exercising and spending time with friends. It all depends on how I am feeling, and what my body feels it needs. I have bad knees. I modify everything I need to, and don’t let my ego try to tell me that it makes me weaker than the person next to me.
Don’t worry about what anyone around you does, do what is best for you.
Think of it this way. I have seen bodybuilders and yogis lift the same amount of weight. One lifting that weight with barbells, and the other with their own body weight in a handstand. They are both equally as strong, it’s just a different kind of strength.
We don’t even need a gym. Count steps, take advantage of a sunny day and walk to lunch, or take the stairs instead of the elevator. My grandmother will lunge up the stairs or break out some sun salutations after Thanksgiving dinner because that is when she found the time to get her exercise done.
No matter what I do, I just try and do something. I don’t like to leave my exercise routine for too long, because when I do my brain starts to go back to its gloomy ways.
When I exercise I leave all the negativity behind. When I finish the rest of my day is just brighter. I burn away all the anxiety, irritability, and brain fog along with the calories. Not to mention that feeling of accomplishment adds an awesome confidence boost to my day.