This is me from 2016, when for a challenge I decided to run a race a month…For some of you that must sound like a bloody torture, but not for me. I bloody loved it and that’s where I want to get back to.
As you probably know, if you’ve been reading my blogs for a while now, running is my passion. It’s been a friend for years and has been there for me through the good and the bad times. I simply don’t know what I would’ve done without it, during some very dark times. My commitment can ebb and flow, depending on my physical health, but I always come back to it.
For me and my mental health, there’s nothing beats a run and nothing, including medication, can touch it for dealing with my depression and anxiety. But you don’t have to take my word for it, you only have to do a google search and there’s plenty of evidence and studies to show exercise and getting outside are good for releasing endorphins.
Endorphins are the feel good chemicals that get released into the body when we exercise or do something that makes us feel good, including sex. But getting back to exercise…research has shown that exercise is a useful and effective treatment for mild to moderate depression.
Now that’s not to say it is purely because of the endorphins. In my experience exercise gives me a reason to get up on the dark days. It gives me a goal when I don’t have others and it forces me to focus on looking after myself, because if I eat crap and don’t look after myself, the body won’t be able to do what I ask of it.
But, if this blog post has left you cold and you’re sitting there thinking that there’s no way you’d want to take up running, don’t despair. I know running is Marmite. So before you shut down, remember this – exercise is like dating. You have to find the right exercise for you, based on your likes, loves, hates and lifestyle. If it doesn’t fit, you won’t get the benefits of consistency.
Take a look at my friends that get the same exercise high from cycling, yoga or walking. Some of them love tennis, squash, badminton or football (hand-eye co-ordination isn’t my strength). Some love solo sports, some love company and some love a combination. Some fit it around their working life, going out for a trot before work, while others have a social club in the evening. Some go all out at the weekend…it just depends on what you want to get out of it and how you accommodate it.
So before you dismiss exercise – and lose out – have a think about the number of sports there are out there and think about what could work for you – whether it be one type of exercise or many that suit you, nothing beats a sports high, rather than a chemically induced numbing.
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